Local business and evangelical association join to provide employment for sexual exploitation victims
New Textile Life is a textile workshop that aims to give people at risk of exclusion “an opportunity to regain an independent life”.
Protestante Digital · SANTANDER · 20 MAY 2021 · 16:13 CET
The Spanish company Austral Sport and the evangelical association Nueva Vida (New Life), have founded Nueva Vida Textil (New Textile Life), a textile workshop that seeks to employ people at risk of social exclusion, especially women survivors of sexual exploitation.
The project aims to both generate economic benefits and have a social impact in the area.
For some time now, it has been difficult for Austral, located in the Spanish region of Cantabria, to find qualified personnel for the manufacture of its more technical products. This is why the company decided to collaborate with Nueva Vida, an evangelical NGO that has social care projects aimed at people at risk of exclusion.
Raúl de Pablo Cantero, CEO of Austral Sport, points out that “job placement is essential to complete the process of social reintegration of these women, as well as to give them a real opportunity to regain an autonomous and independent life”.
According to Julio David García Justamante, coordinator of Nueva Vida, in most cases, women turn to prostitution “as a last resort, when they have no other option”. That is why it is important to have resources aimed at women in vulnerable contexts, “so that they never have to turn to selling their bodies in order to survive”.
Between 15 and 20 people will take part in the project, including workers and trainees. The workshop will start providing products to other textile companies, including Austral, with sportswear and corporate uniforms, but later on, they will start their own line of products.
Local government cooperation
The initiative has also sought to involve the local government. Alongside the city council of Camargo, a training and specialisation program for professionals in the sector has been organised, with the aim of engaging future dressmakers and seamstresses. The city council has provided over 10,000 Euros for a course that consists of 240 hours of classes. Technical assistance and machinery has also been provided by the city.
The Mayoress of Camargo, Esther Bolado, has expressed her satisfaction for being able to collaborate with the project, while the councillor for local development, Eugenio Gómez, is sure that this initiative “will help these women to regain control of their lives and to have the necessary resources to manage their day-to-day lives independently”.
Business and social impact
“Austral could have grown its business by numbers alone, but before that, they asked themselves - can we use this opportunity to generate a significant social impact? And that is where we came in, as we are in direct contact with people in extremely vulnerable situations”, stresses the coordinator of Nueva Vida.
For Austral's CEO, “corporate social responsibility paved the way. Understanding the business model as an agent that generates social impact and seeks to provide business solutions to current social and environmental challenges, is something that is here to stay”.