This story was initially published as a media release by SFU Public Affairs and Media Relations: SFU Open House: Health sciences engagement improves lives on May 17, 2012.
Lindsay Belvedere, Christine Lukac, Martyna Purchla, Anam Hameed and Cici Chenliu, whose studies span five disciplines, unveil at 2012 SFU Open House a custom-made SFU book bag and pencil case as well as sharing stories about their co-op experiences in India.
Designed by the student team and sewn by female survivors of human trafficking in Kolkata, India, the students will sell their products locally and eventually North America-wide to raise funds for Destiny Reflection.
The Kolkata-based non-profit organization has helped about 20 girls and women in India, such as the sewers of SFU-conceived products, escape sale into the sex-trade industry by earning a living as sewers in the textile industry.
“We will give the funds from the bag sales to Destiny Reflection to help the organization economically empower more female survivors of human trafficking by training and hiring them as sewers,” explains Belvedere. Deeply moved by her exposure to the women’s plight in a course taught by Tucker, Belvedere engaged in co-op work at Destiny Reflection, where Tucker was simultaneously working as a volunteer.
“Human trafficking is a global problem, not just confined to India ... In Kolkata alone, there are more than 60,000 sex workers, the majority of whom have been trafficked.” - Lindsay Belvedere
The evolution of Belvedere's and her fellow student partners’ development of BAGS mirrors SFU’s commitment to being Canada’s most community-engaged research university and the FHS’s credo.
“FHS is committed to addressing health disparities both in Canada and globally. We believe there should be a seamless relationship between research, education and engagement in addressing the major health challenges in the world today.” - John O’Neil, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences
Three other FHS presentations at open house will engage visitors in an experiment, a discussion and a debate. The presentations will exemplify how research, education and community engagement at FHS are intersecting to unravel the genetic to social causes of health disparities globally.