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Aug 27, 2015


Imperial Graduation Day Festivities
Imperial Graduation Day Festivities

HERA (Her Equality Rights and Autonomy) mobilizes business and academic expertise, creativity, and entrepreneurship to prevent and counter the multibillion business of human trafficking. HERA achieves this objective by providing women survivors of trafficking, conflict, and other forms of violence with professional skills and networks to pursue their career ambitions.


For over a decade, HERA has trained over 300 women survivors and 260 mentors in four countries to prevent re-trafficking. Each summer for the past eight years, HERA delivers an intensive three-week entrepreneurship program for 36 women survivors at Imperial College London Business School. Professors, business executives, graduate students, and entrepreneurs volunteer time and expertise for this training. In 2015 HERA is launching its first entrepreneurship training and mentoring programme in Seattle in collaboration with the Business School at Seattle University.


At Imperial HERA also trains London businesswomen and men to coach and mentor the women who successfully complete the training by presenting their business plans. Throughout the year, HERA then organizes monthly evening and weekend seminars for the women, MBA students, and mentors.


With significant in-kind and financial support from business, leading universities, private trusts, and international financial institutions, HERA is remarkably cost effective. Our cutting edge entrepreneurship and mentor training costs £800/trafficked woman. That amount also covers materials, transport, food, childcare costs and some housing for women to attend the summer program.


Following the training and mentoring, 85% of UK women survivors report positive career development measured as: finding employment, piloting a venture or self-employment, acceptance into higher education, and/or advancing their careers through apprenticeships and internships. Over 80% of mentoring relationships complete the year cycle with over 33% continuing on a second year or more.


To date HERA has also awarded over 120 grants to women’s ventures in five Eastern European countries to prevent trafficking. 87% (of 95% of ventures funded through 2013 and evaluated on site) are sustaining or growing these ventures leading to the creation of 500 new jobs. The average grant cost used to purchase essential capital equipment for each venture is £700.


HERA’s total operating costs are £75,000 per annum (2014 accounts). HERA is currently working to raise an educational endowment of £2 million to sustain the training and create an incubator for similar programs in other business schools and countries. We will continue to be entrepreneurial in attracting the best business and academic talent and expertise to provide serious economic alternatives to prevent and address trafficking, violence, exploitation and conflict in all women’s lives.

Mentoring Programme
Mentoring Programme
HERA's International Grants Programme - PreSchool
HERA's International Grants Programme - PreSchool


Aug 5, 2013

HERA update August 2013

The last three months since we last submitted our report has been a particularly successful period for HERA.  In May we secured a five-year partnership with Imperial Business School to support our annual entrepreneurship programme and we have also received positive publicity for the work we are doing, most recently with a feature on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s hour.

After a successful recruitment drive of both mentors and mentees we hosted our seventh annual HERA entrepreneurship programme at Imperial College.  Firstly in June we provided seven hours of mentorship training and education on trafficking to high calibre mentors from a range of professional and business backgrounds e.g. law, healthcare, banking and finance.

Then in July we ran our 12-day entrepreneurship programme for 36 protégés.  We were delighted with this year’s cohort and their presentations at the end of the course highlighted that learning outcomes had been achieved.  We believe that with the support of their mentors, many of our protégés will achieve their career and business aspirations.

Whilst the entrepreneurship programme has been our main focus to date, we recognised that the stigma of having been trafficked discouraged women we have helped from staying in contact.   Therefore we have been unable to provide more sustainable support after the years mentorship to ensure career aspirations are met and business ventures continue.  To overcome this we have expanded our target group of women we aim to serve, to include those that have also suffered from other forms of sexual exploitation or abuse.  In addition, we have developed the concept of an Innovation Centre, which has just opened in Shoreditch, London for 8 hours each week.  This is available to past, present and potential future mentees (referred by our partner charities).  The centre is also to host bi monthly seminars, open to both mentors and mentees.  We believe the Innovation Centre will create a HERA community, encouraging more women to stay in contact with us, through which we will be able to support more vulnerable women to access our expertise and support to achieve economic autonomy.

This work would not be possible without the support we have received from Global Giving. Over the next three months we will be working to ensure the Innovation Centre is up and running and utilised effectively to ensure our aims are met.

May 13, 2013

HERA Update May 2013

Homemade Soap
Homemade Soap

Recruitment has been the main focus for HERA over the past few months. As mentioned in the last update we are currently in the process of recruiting new mentors and women to take part in the 2013-14 HERA programme.

During this time, we get the opportunity to meet new women and talk to them about taking part in the programme. It's always a delight to see the enthusiasm and the excitement in the women, when they learn about the programme, studying at Imperial and meeting their mentors.

The same enthusiasm can be found in the the new mentors who have applied to mentor this year. It’s great to see the range of career backgrounds and the years of experience that they will be able to offer to the women. We are always grateful to all the volunteers who take part in the programme and the support they provide.

Whilst we have been working hard on the recruitment, we've also been working hard with the women by offering opportunities to give their entrepreneurship skills a test.

In March we put on an event called the ‘The Soap Exercise’. The women were tasked with the job of creating a homemade soap bar that they would go on to sell. This was a great opportunity for the women to think about how they would go about creating a product, marketing and teamwork. For the women who took part, it was a great chance to get their business thinking hats on. 

It was a very successful day and the finished homemade soap recently arrived and we look forward to seeing how the women get on selling their products.

These sort of events are just one of the way we aim to keep the women engaged with the HERA programme, by giving everyone a chance to come together and work towards something. It’s important to us to keep the women engaged and inspired to reach their end goal of setting up their own businesses.

Thank you again for all your support, with your donations we are able to put on such events. In the future we do plan to put together more events for the women and their mentors to help in the building of a successful HERA network. In return, this helps create a great environment where the women are able to prosper and achieve their goal to set up their own businesses.

Again Thank You for all your support!!

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