Continuing our interview series with people who motivate us at Made in Freedom, we present to you Kerry Hilton. In 1999, he and his wife Annie founded the Freedom Business Freeset, in Kolkata, India, – in the middle of one of the world`s largest red light districts.
The goal of their textile company is to give women living in this area an alternative means of income to prostitution.
MIF: Freedom is a term with many meanings. What does freedom mean to you and your organisation Freeset?
Kerry: Agreed, Freedom has widespread meaning depending on your viewpoint or perspective. Women in our community never had the opportunity to choose for themselves. Their poverty meant others made choices for them; horrible, evil choices that exploited them. Freedom means having the opportunity to choose my own future despite my past. Freedom is being part of a loving caring community that doesn’t judge but loves me into healing. Freedom is seeing my community transformed from one that profits from people to one that profits for people. It’s a community where perpetrator and victim find freedom from their past looking forward to a future of hope.
MIF: Many projects against poverty in developing countries seem to be only a drop in the ocean. What kind of experiences of real positive change for the poorest of the poor motivates you most? Do you have an example, or two?
Kerry: When a women (this happened a couple of weeks ago) walks into the office and says, without even being asked, my life has totally changed and I know God is with me, he’s in my heart.
When a father, unable to support his rather large family, with tears in his eyes, says my daughter has become my son (not a sexist comment) because she has become the provider for the family.
Everyday when I see many women coming to work with smiles on their faces, full of dignity and hope, knowing that they left a trade that sought to rob them of all that.
When a few hundred women gather together in prayer, praying that God will bring freedom to their neighbours, family and friends in their communities.
MIF: What kind of support (by individuals, churches, government?) would you wish/ask for?
- Invest in new freedom businesses with us.
- Pray for God’s kind of justice and freedom amongst our neighbours in the communities we live and work.
- This freedom business thing works. Come join us or let us help you start a freedom business.
MIF: In your opinion, how can anyone of us in our daily life contribute to more freedom in the world for more people?
- Think about what you buy and who made it.
- The world seems to talk a lot about poverty yet if we were to end our greed, those trapped in poverty and the exploitation that goes with it would surely have their greatest chance of rising above it.
MIF: Thank you for your motivating answers, Kerry, and we hope for continued success for you and Freeset.
If you are interested in the t-shirts and bags produced in freedom and with fair payment by Kerry’s company please contact us here!