Dec ’22. News. Events.

December 2022


Season’s Greetings, WARriors!

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank each member of the WAR family for your support and encouragement throughout this past year. Whether it was through your prayers, hours of volunteer service, donations, purchases, or hosting an event, you are what makes the mission of WAR, Int’l possible.

Our hope is that this month is filled with joy and peace for you and yours as we remember the reason we celebrate the season.


Giving Tuesday

Our word for Giving Tuesday 2022 is IMPACT as it is our goal to make an immediate impact on the lives we are called to help in their darkest hour of need. Our 911 Rescue fund allows us to say “yes” when a plane ticket is needed for a woman to escape her trafficker, when money is needed for emergency care, or legal aid is required. Thank you WAR Family for helping us be able to say “yes!”

GIVE TODAY!

LEARN MORE HERE!


Don’t Forget!

Our holiday lookbook is here to help simplify your WAR Chest Boutique shopping experience! Find gift ideas and inspiration as you peruse its pages filled with beautiful products for you to purchase, share, and enjoy.

Not only will you gain a quality handcrafted gift, but you’ll also be empowering rescued and at-risk lives with the power of your purchase. Shop our holiday lookbook here!


Shipping Notification

For any orders placed after December 16, 2022, the WAR Chest Boutique cannot guarantee delivery by Christmas. Please place your order accordingly – the earlier the better!

Visit warchestboutique.com to catch up on your Christmas shopping any time of the day or night! We’ve got something for everyone on your list so you can shop with a purpose this holiday season!


Did You Know?

We offer free shipping on all orders of $75 or more! You can #ShopToRescue anytime at warchestboutique.com and save on shipping while checking items off your Christmas list. It’s a win-win for everyone. Finish up your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home this holiday season!


New Blog Post

Our 911 Rescue fund grew out of a partner’s request in the dead of night to rescue a baby who had been sold. Most of these stories are never told due to their danger and confidentiality… but because of you, they’re real rescues. Currently, WAR, Int’l is immersed in seven rescue situations. If we’re ever able to share any details, we will. In the meantime, read Real Stories of Rescue here.


As the anticipation builds for our next Light Up Your World, can we get a drumroll, please? #OOOOHHHH, who’s going to be our next special guest? We’re still finalizing the details but can’t wait to share them with you soon! Stay tuned by checking our upcoming events page for additional details as the time gets closer.

For the 26th, here is the Zoom link!

Real Stories of Rescue

“Most stories are never told due to their danger and confidentiality…but because of you, they’re real rescues.” Becky McDonald

November 2022


Ellie.

Mai cut the cooked egg into four sections, dividing it equally between her four hungry children. With another one on the way, there would soon be five hungry months to feed.

Two weeks after her new little one was born, Mai sold Ellie, her beautiful baby girl, to local traffickers. When our partnering safehouse heard about the situation, they tracked Ellie down and loaned Mai money to buy her back, despite threats from the traffickers.

Now adopted into a safe home, Ellie is blossoming under the love and care she needs.

Our 911 Rescue fund grew out of this partner’s request in the dead of night to rescue this precious baby girl who had been sold to Thai traffickers for $200. Becky, founder and president of WAR, Int’l, was shocked they had to ask for the funding to rescue. Becky promised the money blindly, saying she would have a garage sale if necessary, and begged them to rescue the baby without delay!


Moses.

At four months old, Moses was an adorable baby—but his family offered to sell him to anyone who wanted him. In this situation, he came to the notice of a group of our partners, who took turns watching him. Fortunately for Moses, we found him before a trafficker did. While the law tied our hands, we were able to use money from the 911 Rescue Fund to pay for his immediate needs.


Nadia.

Just recently, we helped facilitate the rescue of a woman running from the mob after she was discovered hiding in a church. She was so frightened she attempted to jump out of a moving car when someone tried taking her to a hospital. Two WAR volunteers who are fluent in her language were able to calm her down, and our friends at Homeland Security helped us get her into a safehouse. While addressing her medical needs, we discovered she’s almost blind in one eye and needs glasses. Having funds readily available to cover these costs is crucial.

When you help a woman escape exploitation, you witness the painfully high cost of freedom. While she leaves abuse behind, in many cases she’s leaving everything she’s ever known. She may never see family again, especially if they were part of the problem. Starting over is exhausting, let alone simultaneously navigating trauma and healing.

Freedom is not free but painfully expensive in a thousand different ways.


Meadow.

Meadow’s father was her trafficker. Rather than cherish and protect his daughter, he sold her innocence to local politicians. Though Meadow is now safe with her mother in hiding, she bravely attempts to overcome the past betrayal and trauma. For Meadow, making sugar scrubs has been a source of peace, a small part of repairing the brokenness of the past. However, Meadow’s future also benefits from this therapeutic process. As Women At Risk, International proudly stands beside this brave young girl, we ask you to stand with us to support those at risk in our own communities.


Ready to start making an impact today?

GIVE TODAY

LEARN MORE HERE

#TogetherWeRescue

Black Friday Week!

At the WAR Chest Boutique!

#BlackFriday2022


Want to make a statement this coming holiday season?

Then stay tuned for the Nov 24th Set Free special!

From Thursday the 24th through Wednesday the 30th our Set Free special will be a feature of 30% OFF select statement necklaces both in-store and online!

Weekly Set Free Specials Are Here!

Free Shipping!

Pssst… our online boutique is open 24/7! #FreeShipping on all orders of $75 or more. #ShopToRescue anytime at warchestboutique.com.

Spoiler Alert: We offer free shipping #AllYearRound

Looking for some sweet, thoughtful gifts that also generate impact?

Then come #ShopToRescue at the WAR Chest Boutique all throughout this week!

Starting tomorrow the 22nd and running through Saturday the 26th, we will be featuring an additional 50% OFF all orange-tagged items at our Grandville area boutique!

Click here for location and holiday hours!

Not sure what gift to give?

Buy a WAR Chest Boutique Gift Card! Stop by our boutique and pick up a gift card for an amount of your choosing.

Every Friday, just for you, we curate a collection of specialty gifts from the WAR Chest Boutique. It is a treasure chest, if you will, of unique and beautiful handcrafted items – like ​jewelry, scarves, accessories, and more – to provide you with moments of opportunity.

-The opportunity to add fresh style to your home and attire.
-The opportunity to equip and empower survivors.
-The opportunity to give a hand up for those at risk to live in freedom.

Please take a moment to shop with a purpose at the WAR Chest Boutique and browse this week’s collection at Fresh Finds!

From sweater days to wooly nights

How is it that November is already upon us? This month kicks off the beginning of the holiday season, and if you’re anything like the rest of us, your calendar is filling up fast. That’s why we want to notify you ahead of time what opportunities there are to partner with WAR, Int’l in making a difference during this busy time of year.

Whether participating in our Giving Tuesday Campaign, joining in the festivities at a pop-up event, or checking items off your holiday shopping list at WAR Chest Boutique, you are helping us continue our mission of rescue, restoration, and empowerment. We are beyond grateful for your continued encouragement and support.


Giving Tuesday: November 29, 2022

The word we have chosen as a theme for Giving Tuesday 2022 is impact.

We all want to make a positive impact on the world around us, especially for those in need. We have a goal to raise $40,000 for our 911 Rescue Fund, and your gift empowers immediate rescue and intervention when life-saving action is required. A single act of kindness can make a powerful difference. Together, we can create an impact by giving to rescue, restore, and empower vulnerable lives around the globe.

Learn more about our Giving Tuesday campaign here.

Donate here.


In Case you Missed It…

Our A Holiday to Remember lookbook is here! We are delighted to display our beautiful products for you to purchase, share, and enjoy, and it is our hope you find a sense of peace and purpose in shopping our collection of handcrafted gifts this holiday season. We’re confident you’ll not only discover items your friends and family will love, but you’ll also empower the rescued and at risk by purchasing the work of their hands.

Shop our Holiday Lookbook here!


Becky at Wheaton

Join Becky as she speaks at the IJM Chapter of Wheaton College on Wednesday, November 2 from 4:00-5:00 pm CT. Come learn about human trafficking and how you can combat this evil in your community. Products made by and in support of rescued and at-risk individuals will also be available for purchase after the event until 7:30 pm. Find additional details here.


Joy 99 Live

WAR Chest Boutique invites you to join us on Friday, November 4 from 10:00 am-1:00 pm EDT for a live remote radio broadcast with our friends at Joy 99. Come on over and spin the Joy 99 prize wheel and enter our drawing for a chance to score an exclusive gift basket from WAR Chest Boutique! For any in-store purchases of $30 or more, you’ll also receive a FREE gift of a Compass Key Ring made in our U.S. Training Center.

Learn more at upcoming events.


Holiday Gift Fair

We’ve been invited to host a pop-up shop of WAR Chest Boutique products at the Lansing Grace Alternative Holiday Gift Fair on Saturday, November 5 from 10:00 am-2:00 pm EDT. If you’re in the area, come join the festivities and support WAR, Int’l along with other fair trade merchants. A bake sale and children’s activities will also be part of the merriment. More info here.


Becky Speaking

On Sunday, November 6 Becky will be speaking at the 11:15 am service of First Congregational Church of Christ in Angola, IN. You are invited to hear her share about the realities of trafficking in our world today and the work we’re accomplishing at WAR, Int’l, particularly in Afghanistan and Ukraine. You will hear stories of rescue and hope and have opportunity to shop products made by rescued and at-risk artisans around the globe.

Learn more details here.


Bombshell Birthday Bash

Come kick off the holiday shopping season and stop by our pop-up shop at the Bombshell Beauty Lounge on Saturday, November 19 from 10 am-2 pm. As part of their anniversary celebration, we have been invited to take part in the festivities, and we hope you’ll join us! The Bombshell Birthday Bash is a great way to support WAR, Int’l while also having some fun! Find more info here.


Light Up Your World – November 28th

Don’t forget to join us for another survivor testimonial on this month’s Light Up Your World Zoom call! On Monday, November 28 special guest AJ will once again be joining us to share more about her personal journey of becoming a birth mother and finding healing from trauma and addiction. As she shares, your heart will be deeply touched, and you will find AJ is more than a survivor–she is also a THRIVER who has made it her life’s work to empower other survivors as they traverse the path to healing.

Visit our upcoming events page for additional details.


Daily Inspiration: Meet Rebecca McDonald

Author: VoyageMichigan Magazine
September 2022

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca McDonald.

Hi Rebecca, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.

I had the greatest privilege in the world of growing up on the Indian Subcontinent in Bangladesh and Pakistan. As a tiny child, my father, an American surgeon, took me to the golden land of Bangladesh. I attended boarding school in Pakistan. All my formative years were spent in lands steeped in Islam. My playmates were mostly Muslims but Hindu and Buddhist as well. My earliest memories are of “playing house,” which meant making “curry” from our mud pies and praying on “make-believe” prayer mats.

At the age of 14, a watershed experience set me on the course of action that my life has followed ever since. My family stayed through the bitter war of independence from Pakistan. The carnage for women was especially horrific. In the poor countryside, women were property bought and sold in a marriage contract. As in all wars, property is attacked. The women were no exception.

Every day I went to my father’s hospital after school to pack 300 units of relief after the war for the most destitute families. I had a helper and playmate. Her name was Neehru, and she, too was 14.

Neehru was a Muslim girl that had been thrown away at my feet by the men of her family for the crime of resisting rape. It is not common for Bengali men to rape their women, but every culture of the world has predatory men and women.

Neehru’s real crime was that she fought back. To teach her she was only property with no voice and no right to fight back, they poured acid down her throat and burned her vocal cords forever. This is a frequent occurrence. The acid of Neehru’s suffering burned a hole in my heart and set me on the pathway that I have been on ever since, of giving voice to the silenced cries of women and children.

My passion is to create safe places around women and children at risk wrapping arms of love around them and empowering them to rewrite the stories of their lives. Since returning to America, I have added to my efforts to open the eyes of my American sisters to the plight of women globally.

In 2006, Women at Risk International became a registered, separate 501c3 entity, even though I had been reaching out to women decades prior. Our goal at WAR, Int’l is to see captives set free; to address 14 different risk issues that prey on vulnerable men, women, and children. We are partnered with more than 171 individuals and organizations in 45 countries, and we continue to bring a voice to the voiceless through these partnerships.

WAR, Int’l now has a storefront boutique & online boutique filled with items made by rescued women from all around the world – including here in the United States through our US Training Center program in Michigan. We invite people to shop with a purpose, bringing hope and dignity to women who have suffered lives of trauma and exploitation. We want to be a circle of protection for these women.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?

Firstly, whenever you are a founder & entrepreneur, you are learning organically, from the ground up. There’s not a lot of models to look to & learn from, so you must lead with humility & a good sense of humor to be able to laugh at your mistakes, learn from them & pivot quickly. When excellence is a core value these are vital ingredients & demand a commitment to any obstacle. At the end of the day, every obstacle is an opportunity in disguise.

Women At Risk International addresses 15 risk issues; the one we’re most known for is human slavery. The truth of these stories is dark, horrific, & gut-wrenching. Whenever you present those kinds of stories, it has to be done in a way that your audience, your constituency, and your circle of influence respond not with fear but with a heart of compassion that leads to action. There is a real challenge in presenting this subject with transparency while staying confidential & without eliciting disgust or anger. Those obstacles must be overcome; the goal must be to light a fire of passion to create a legacy of safe places & enlist hearts to use their time, talent & treasure to make a difference.

Secondly, the depth of brokenness & horror that the survivors we serve are subjected to demands an excellence all of its own – safety, confidentiality, trauma-informed care, persistence, & unending compassion must invade every aspect of what you do.

Lastly, when you choose to make your passion an area that is unaddressed by society as a whole, you are the tip of the spear & you will hit walls of ignorance, fear & disbelief. 30 years ago, when I began fighting this century’s fastest-growing arm of crime, slavery, people didn’t know what human trafficking was. Being credible & believable & yet not terrifying your constituency requires a lot of diplomacy & persistence. Today, people know what human trafficking is, so it’s no longer an obstacle. However, they still think it’s a foreign problem & are unaware that the greatest risk is within our own nation, to our own children. Up to 300,000 minors per year, AMERICAN citizens with constitutional rights, are at risk & few are talking about it. There’s no such thing as a smooth ride when you start something that is so unknown. The good news is people really do care – overwhelmingly so – when they are exposed to such broken darkness in a way that shows that rescue & healing really can happen. When you give them practical ways to make a difference from the sanctity of their home to those they love, there’s a genuine response.

Albert Einstein said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” My experience, WAR, Int’l’s experience, is that good people really want to set the captive free, be a circle of protection to those they love & bring hope & healing.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?

What I’m most proud of is the survivors we work with. They are the heroes of the WAR world who have been to hell and back, put their lives back together, risen up & flourish. We have graduated doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, mommies, teachers, goat herders, cosmetologists, counselors, bakers, candlestick makers – whatever their dream is. Seeing them go from horrific abuse to powerful individuals is what makes it all worthwhile.

What sets us apart is that we specialize in creating circles of protection around those at risk through value-added, culturally sensitive interventions. We are most known for our fight against one of the many risk issues we address, human trafficking: this century’s fastest-growing arm of crime.

We train the WAR world that there are 4 core values that are unique.

First, we believe in wrap-around, holistic services. We address all the needs of our rescued survivors & operate like an umbrella, where we pull in all their needs.

Secondly, we believe in sustainability. We want our survivors & programs to create revenue streams that pay their overhead so that they are not solely dependent on donations. Ideally, donations are for growth, not for overhead. We’re very intentional in helping diversify & have multiple revenue streams. We do not just rescue but help that individual dream of a future, plan a career path, & find ways to avoid being re-victimized.

Thirdly, we are passionately intentional about cultural sensitivity in all programs. What that means is that in any of our 58 countries, no 2 safehouses will look alike. They must fit the cultural value system of that nation, that people group, in order to be effective & long-lasting.

Finally, we believe that anti-trafficking & addressing risks to marginalized people is timely. This generation, globally, is born with a social justice gene in their DNA. Like never before, when this generation gets into positions of leadership, they are going to address the social ills about them. This gives us great hope for the future.

What do you think about happiness?

There is no joy like seeing a man, woman, or child rescued, restored, & empowered to walk in worth & dignity. Even greater is the luxury of hindsight. We can look back on decades of work & see generational change. When grandparents, parents, & children are all united in an effort to end the risks that plagued their family, environment, and world & are then restored together, that is systemic change. On a personal level, when a survivor finds their voice after being silenced, my joy is boundless. My passion is to help them find their voice, whether it be professionally, physically, emotionally, artistically, musically, in their own way, at their own pace, or in their own time. Longfellow said that the voice is the organ to the soul. Till there’s no breath left in my body, I will use my voice to bring survivors to a place of hope & healing & empower them to find their own voices.