How Screen Printing is Empowering Survivors of Exploitation

By: Susan Hendry

“I stand taller these days!” proudly states one participant when asked about working in the For the Sparrows screen-printing business.

“Having the opportunity to work and to contribute to the decision-making process of this work gives me a reason to get up and get going each day. I feel valued as an employee here. I have more confidence in my own skills and in myself, and I feel privileged to support other women who come to this space.”

Working on these projects gives survivors purpose and joy – especially when they work on something to which they have a particular connection.

Screen printing (along with coffee roasting and candle making) is one of the social enterprises of Next Step Ministries. These businesses aim to employ women in the program and give them a safe place to learn employable job skills. Since the launch of the first training program in Nov. 2021, eleven women have been employed, with five graduating from the program and six currently working there. Since May – June of 2022, employment hours have increased from 15 – 20 hours/month to 70 – 80 hours/month as word of what they can do is spreading, and the demand for product printing has increased.

The screen-printing business provides custom bulk printing at wholesale pricing to customers. To date, the majority of printing projects have been T-shirts or hoodies, but recently that has expanded to include tote bags, aprons, tea towels, and cushion covers. Anything flat has the potential to be printed. As well as printing merchandise for Next Step Ministries, the screen-printing business has also completed orders for Kingdom Coffee, Cochrane Pregnancy Care Centre, Memo Construction, and Capones in Red Deer to name a few.

For The Sparrows is continually looking to create awareness of what they are doing and for opportunities to showcase their merchandise. Consider hiring For the Sparrows for your next printing project or hosting a “pop-up market” of one-of-a-kind gifts that make a difference in your home, church, or other small groups. We invite you to join us in empowering survivors.

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