Monday, October 31, 2011

Stories of Hope Fundraiser a Success

On October 12th 2011 Nomi Network hosted our 2nd annual Cocktail and Awards Ceremony in New York City. With 170 people in attendance, we gathered to honor Dawn Conway of LexisNexis with Nomi Network’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award, as well as to announce Nomi Network’s expansion of programs into India.

In an effort to share about the event with our supporters who are not based in New York, we asked one of our wonderful volunteers, Caroline Hughes, to reflect on her experience at the cocktail and to share about the evening from her perspective. Below is her lovely recap. Special thanks goes to our Host Committee, our sponsors, our board of directors, our volunteers and our in-kind donors for making the evening possible! We hope you’ll join our mailing list and keep an eye out for future events and opportunities to engage!

It’s a Wednesday night just at dusk. I walked into the Scandinavian House located on Park Avenue only to be greeted by some of the loveliest and biggest smiling Nomi volunteers ever. As a volunteer for Nomi myself, I truly felt that sense of family that is entwined throughout the group of workers that make what the organization does possible.

After greeting people at the door for the first hour, I made my way upstairs to see my friends I invited and to check out the venue. It was flawless! Everything from the music of Bethany and a Guitar band to the red and yellow flowers on the table to the wonderful dresses the women were wearing – it was just simply picturesque!

After a little bit of munching on mouth-watering goat cheese and red pepper skewers, scrumptious Scandinavian meatballs, and delicious desserts paired with ginger flavored mixed drinks, Diana Mao, co-founder of Nomi Network, made her way to the front to begin the evening. She gracefully opened by explaining the true meaning of the night’s gathering - which is actually a sobering epidemic - sex trafficking. Nomi is a real girl who has been rescued from trafficking which is something the many young girls like her are still trapped in today. In fact, the UNICEF reports that of the sex workers from the Mekong part of Southeast Asia 30-35% are young girls ages 12-17 years old.“Nomi Network works to empower and protect surviving and at–risk women of sex trafficking specifically in Cambodia by leveraging the fashion industry to create sustainable job and educational opportunities that otherwise don't exist” (Nomi Network website).

JoJo Smith a representative from Goldman Sachs then introducedMinna Elias, member of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney cabinet. Congresswoman Maloney leads a strong fight in the political realm against sex trafficking and is the co-chair of the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus.

Elias presented Nomi Network’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award to Dawn Conway of LexisNexis. Dawn manages the LexisNexis Cares program that encourages corporate volunteerism. The company has been a powerful leader in making more awareness about this crime through databases for social service workers and online training corpses. Also, Conway and LexisNexis have done a large amount of work in driving laws and educating people about the issue. After her presentation, there was a beautiful slideshow of pictures from the country of Cambodia while the band played.

The night ended with the winners of the silent auction and raffles announced along with the cutting of the tasty cake shaped like a Nomi Network bag. As I surveyed the crowd while people were departing, all I saw were smiles.

Leaving the event though, I still wanted to give more to the organization and ones similar to it. Buying products made by Buy Her Bag, Not Her Body and other lines that support women economically is one simple and fashionable way. Being involved in the political fight by letting your local congress people know about your cares and concerns, is another way to help. Also, demanding that policies be in place with corporations to not allow trafficking of any kind to be allowed during production. Volunteering and giving of your time and money (go to www.nominetwork.org) are some of the simplest but most impactful way to help. One way to practically share the love is to host a home party! If you’re interested, contacted supei@nominetwork.org.

Honestly, why spend your money on something as meaningless as a label. Stretch your purchase and make a statement that says you will not stand for injustice.

- Caroline Hughes

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