Do you remember the post A WEEK TO BE MOVED? Back in November, committee member, Donna, attended an anti-human trafficking event at a local cafe in Iloilo City, Philippines named FUEL.PH. This cafe is simply amazing! They aim to encourage the community to use their talents to bring about social good!
Donna was so impressed with FUEL.PH and their anti-human trafficking week that she went back and asked for an interview. This is just for you guys, in hopes that you will not only enjoy learning about this spectacular cafe, but that you too will find the fuel within yourself to make a change! Below, find the interview with questions by Donna, and answers by Sarah Cruise, the director of life development and events for FUEL.PH.
1. What is the main objective of Fuel.Ph in initiating an event such as "Social Justice Week"?
Awareness. That’s simply it, at least for now. ;) After learning more about the issues happening both globally and locally, we were moved to bring insight to others in our community. Many walk around day-in-day-out with no idea the gravity and complexity of the atrocities happening around them. We want to be a voice for the innocent and believe that every human should be valued; thus, we saw the need to host Social Justice Week at Fuel.ph to raise awareness in creative ways to captivate hearts.
2. How Did you feel when you first heard about human trafficking? was it like a passion to bring change?
Personally, I was moved beyond comparison. I had heard briefly about the issue while living in the States, but after moving here to the Philippines and after seeing the documentary “NEFARIOUS”, I can’t say it’s ever hit me quite as hard as it has in the past few months. Absolutely, a passion to bring change has risen in me and as the famous abolitionist William Wilberforce once said, “...you can never again say that you did not know.” These words ring in my head and in my heart. There’s no going back.
3. How do you spark interest to people who are not interested in taking part in bringing about change?
I think most who “aren’t interested in bringing change” are simply unaware of the intensity of an issue and how it could just as easily effect them, whether that be Trafficking or any other social injustice that plagues so many communities. Those of us who do understand and are captivated, it’s our job to stir up hearts. Don’t just bring knowledge but connect to people’s hearts, make it personal; and you’ll see their desire for change
4. How would you encourage young people especially to take part in making a stand against social injustice?
Many injustices continue to flourish because people choose NOT to say “No”. As Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." We must choose to do something. For trafficking, in particular, the average age of girls entering the sex trade/prostitution industry is 12 years of age. So young! Young people must stay alert to the signs of such possibilities and stand firm in the fight against compromise. Another quote I love is, “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” If we don’t want to fall then we have to stand up and speak out!
5. What barriers you have come across?
Here in Iloilo City, specifically, I have found it difficult to find organizations actively and aggressively combating the issue of trafficking or giving rescue to the victims caught in the sex trade. I’m finding many in the city believe it’s not as big of a deal here; however, I have received reports from active organizations in other parts of the Philippines who have said that Iloilo is a hot spot from which many of those they’ve rescued have been trafficked from. It’s happening here and we need to make people believe it. We are lacking people, both locally and globally, who are moved to action. As the saying from “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” Documentary goes, “We don’t need more interested observers; we NEED incurable fanatics.”
6. How did you decide to mingle profit with advocacy? What crowd this draws in?
As you’ll find further down, Fuel.ph is passionate about inspiring positive social change. We combine our Cafe with that to fund our efforts and the efforts of other like-hearted organizations/projects in the city. We believe strongly in being invested in the community in which we serve.
A percentage of our profits and other donated materials go to our charity focuses on a regular basis, as well as our team is involved in service projects around the province. This idea we have draws an interesting mix of people, but all have a common pull... curiosity. ;) Fuel.ph is new, it’s different, it’s not quite normal. So we invite people to come in, talk with us, get to know what makes us tick. Then, join with us! The movement we are embarking on is not exclusive, but inclusive and for all walks of life. We are passionate about people and seeing them reach their purpose in life! ;)
7. How do you think advocacy can grow in our area (Iloilo)?
We have to be willing to take the stand, raise awareness, and volunteer our TIME and resources. I know we all keep quite busy; but, if we care we have to invest our time in the fight against injustice if we ever want to see change happen in our city. Meeting together with like-minded people to brainstorm ways we can do this will be the first step. From there, we can get training and strategize ways to get the information out to the public and hopefully move hearts to action.
8. What impact do you think this is making in the short/long run?
It’s up to us what impact is made, no matter what part of the world we live in. We’ll get out of it whatever we put into it. If we tirelessly strive for results, we’ll get them. It’s up to us. If your efforts even effect only one life, it’s worth it. I hope that with committed involvement, we’ll see our city become a safe place for women and children. A place where they can feel free, valued and respected. We’ll see compassion for our fellow humans. They will be free to live in a safe environment and keep their innocence intact.
9. What advice can you give to people (young and old) regarding human trafficking?
Stay aware, stay engaged, stay sensitive and GET INVOLVED. Many times, we hear of the issues and are moved for a moment or a few weeks and then back to “business as usual” with our lives. This should never become normal or permissible. A human’s life is being robbed from them and exploited without their consent. This should continually grip us, to the very core of our being.
10. Who are the people behind Fuel.Ph? What is Fuel.Ph? It's mission/vision?
Fuel.ph is, firstly, a social movement committed to inspiring, encouraging and provoking young people to pursue their passions - whether that’s art, writing, business, community development, cooking or any other worthy passion. We use our Cafe in Smallville, Iloilo to facilitate that mission. We have 4 key initiatives: Coffee Shop, Internship, Art, Community.
When you visit our Cafe, you’ll see a very art-driven environment because we believe that art is a powerful communicator and Filipinos are SO talented in this area! Fuel wants to not only “make money” but turn around and invest it back into our community; not only money, also time. “We believe that investment shapes the world more than mere charity.” We are simply a social enterprise that seeks to do good and effect change. You can check us out here: www.fuel.ph or here: www.facebook.com/fuelph OR contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. :)
Thanks again for supporting our cause and the pull for social justice!
Director of Life Development and Events
Thank you Donna and Sarah for bringing this interview about an inspiring cafe to the world!