FreeFrom’s GIFTED program provides survivors of domestic violence with the tools and support to start their own businesses, offering a pathway to financial independence and healing.
Relationship abuse, encompassing emotional, physical, and financial control, is a pervasive issue affecting countless individuals. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this problem, leading to a surge in abuse cases and the emergence of a “shadow pandemic.” However, there is hope amidst the darkness. FreeFrom, an organization dedicated to assisting survivors of gender-based domestic violence, has launched GIFTED, an online store that empowers survivors to rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship. This article explores the inspiring journey of Ana Zimmermann, a survivor turned entrepreneur, and the transformative impact of the GIFTED program.
From Abuse to Empowerment: Ana Zimmermann’s Story
Ana Zimmermann, a survivor of domestic violence, found herself trapped in an abusive relationship after moving to Los Angeles in 2009. Despite the challenges she faced, including fear for her life and her children’s safety, Zimmermann summoned the courage to leave in 2016. Seeking refuge in a shelter, she discovered solace in creating thank-you cards for donors—a therapeutic practice that would ultimately shape her future.
From Therapeutic Cards to Entrepreneurship
Zimmermann’s talent for crafting cards caught the attention of others at the shelter, who encouraged her to consider selling her creations. In a serendipitous turn of events, Zimmermann learned about FreeFrom in 2017. Through their entrepreneurship program, she gained the financial knowledge, resources, and collective support necessary to embark on her business journey.
GIFTED: A Shop for Survivors, By Survivors
In 2018, FreeFrom launched GIFTED, an online store that allows survivors to sell their products and regain financial independence. GIFTED offers a range of ethically-sourced products, including soaps, body butters, scrubs, oils, body soufflés, and candles. The shop also curates gift boxes and zodiac-inspired collections, providing customers with unique and meaningful options for self-care and gift-giving.
Empowering Survivors Through Financial Independence
GIFTED is more than just an online shop—it is a lifeline for survivors seeking financial independence. The program ensures that workers receive a living wage of $38.46 per hour, providing stability and security. By purchasing GIFTED products, customers directly contribute to the empowerment of survivors, allowing them to break free from the cycle of abuse and dependence on government assistance.
The Allstate Foundation’s Support and The Power of Giving Back
The Allstate Foundation recognizes the importance of supporting survivors’ financial security and long-term safety. This holiday season, they are contributing $250,000 to FreeFrom, furthering the organization’s mission. The Allstate Foundation’s commitment to social entrepreneurship, such as GIFTED, exemplifies their dedication to empowering survivors and promoting self-care and wellness.
A Circle of Healing and Community
For survivors like Zimmermann, the impact of GIFTED extends far beyond financial benefits. The program fosters a sense of community among survivor-entrepreneurs, creating a safe space for healing and growth. The support and guidance provided by fellow survivors enable individuals to overcome challenges and build a brighter future.
GIFTED, FreeFrom’s transformative entrepreneurship program, offers survivors of domestic violence a pathway to financial independence and healing. Through the creation of their online shop, GIFTED empowers survivors like Ana Zimmermann to rebuild their lives and regain control. By supporting GIFTED, customers not only gain access to beautiful, ethically-sourced products but also contribute to the empowerment and well-being of survivors. As we navigate these challenging times, let us remember the power of community, resilience, and the potential for positive change.