By Trent Broeckel
On Friday, October 30th, Pacific Union College’s student-led philanthropic group REVO kicked off its fundraising campaign with a vespers and launch party. Short for revolution, REVO is based on the idea students will not wait for the world to change and together, will become a movement for positive change.
This year, REVO is partnering with a fair trade business called Freeset, located in Sonagacchi, one of Asia’s largest red light districts in Kolkata, India. Women at Freeset are offered a chance to change their lives and are taught skills like making clothing, bags, and other merchandise. All profits from Freeset go directly to these women, providing them with salary, health insurance, and retirement plans. REVO’s goal for this quarter is to raise $10,023 which is the exact amount necessary to employ 27 women at Freeset.
This past summer, seven PUC students were led by professors Alisa Jacobo and Cristian Cruz to work side by side with women at Freeset in Kolkata. REVO’s president and PUC senior communication major Evelyn Marquez was one of those who saw the global issue in Kolkata first hand. “They didn’t have a choice, but Freeset created the opportunity for them to have one,” Marquez explained, “A choice to experience freedom.”
The REVO team has organized and presented a $10 challenge to PUC students in hopes of reaching their goal for fall quarter. If every student at PUC participates in the challenge, REVO could raise far more than their goal. College students stereotypically do not have much money, though Marquez argues accepting the $10 challenge is not taxing. “We can sacrifice one trip to Giugni’s with our friends to give someone a lifetime of freedom. I met a girl named Daali in Kolkata. Her monthly food budget before starting work at Freeset was $10. A small donation can really go a long way.”
Christopher Lawrence, senior accounting major and REVO’s vice president, expresses, “Helping people is one thing but offering them the option of a completely better life is something I believe God wants us to do as Christians.”
Marquez, Jacobo, and senior intercultural communication major Pascale Pean shared their summer experiences in Kolkata at REVO’s vespers. Afterwards, the Student Association provided samosas and mango lassi. During the course of REVO’s opening weekend, with the support from both the Student Association and Enactus (non-profit business club), REVO has already raised around $1,000 in donations. This marks a fantastic start for the campaign, but more work needs to be done.
If you would like to learn more about REVO and the opportunity to change the future of women at risk of being trafficked, please visit www.facebook.com/revopuc.
If you feel compelled to help, you can donate at www.crowdrise.com/revopuc (tax deductable).