Dianna Bautista is the living embodiment of the proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” A force of nature, she joined Linda and I to share her amazing experience as the a co-founder of Free Rain International and Shear Love International. She launched and is growing these amazing programs not just to help men & women in desperate circumstances but to empower them to provide long-term for themselves and their children.
Marrying socially responsible organizations with an entrepreneurial tool is a model close to my heart. Dianna has found multiple ways to respond to the oppression of human sex trafficking, abuse and poverty in multiple countries, including Brazil, Kenya, Uganda, Mexico and Cambodia. Currently she is completely immersed in programs she has established in Thailand, where Covid-19 has proved a double-edged sword. For all the suffering it has caused, Dianna has seen sex workers – suddenly unemployed – start training and preparing for an entirely different life. It’s exciting to hear her reports from the front lines, which are also detailed beautifully in her new book, “Faith, Hope and Shear Love.” that launched in December, 2020!
COMMITTED TO THE CALLING
Dianna always knew that she wanted to be a hair stylist and never deviated from that path, until she realized that she could extend her passion into a life of purpose. Her innovative programs teach under-resourced people how to build something better for themselves and their families. What started as a barber and hair cutting school, aimed at not only training but launching independent salons owned by graduates, has now extended into schools teaching the skills necessary to run a café, work at a bakery or produce highly marketable textile creations.
WORKING WITH OTHERS
What strikes me is how much of a difference one person on an unflagging mission can make, along with how she’s managed to find others to partner with; people with similar goals and tactical plans. The success of Dianna’s programs is built on the relationships she’s formed with other NGOs in Thailand (multiple links below), working together to offer an alternative to women in the slums at risk or already mired in the sex industry.
While Covid-19 hasn’t had many silver linings, there have been interesting, unexpected and positive impacts. Dianna and her partners mobilized to offer support – and critical training to women thrust out of the sex worker industry. They’ve shown up, for example, in growing numbers to learn how to weave. They’re also receiving support from Mission Care, which offers therapy to help with their trauma. Children who were previously separated from their mothers and out on the streets, are now flourishing in a pre-school for the staff and students participating in Shear Love programs. Linda and I were so moved that when she let us know they didn’t even have enough sewing machines for the students, we agreed to buy them along with more fabrics to keep them moving forward.
What’s next for Shear Love? Dianna’s 10th class of beauty and barber students are now graduating. Her slate of training programs and models for self-sustaining enterprises is the epitome of social entrepreneurism. But there’s always more to do (and more donations needed to fund these efforts). She would love to have help promoting textile products hand-made by her students in the U.S., England and elsewhere. Most of all, as her mission to eradicate human sex trafficking expands, so prayer is always appreciated!
“We need massive amounts of prayers for our students, who are about to enter the workforce while still in the middle of a pandemic. But there are salons up and running and we’re supporting them all the way,” says Dianna, who told us that she wants to be remembered as a person who never gave up.
In wrapping up our conversation, we asked Dianna what has been the most valuable piece of advice she’s ever received. Without hesitation she told a story that demonstrates exactly why the No. 1 thing she’s learned is the importance of community and that none of us have an excuse not to get busy. To hear her moving story and the rest of our inspiring conversation, visit: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fighting-for-freedom-from-human-trafficking-through/id1525609755?i=1000501716171
- A little about Dianna’s background and what brought her to this work.
- How her passion ultimately led to spiritual purpose and her mission in life.
- The power of partnership – including a bit about her 10 small non-profit partners.
- Priorities and goals when determining how to create and execute a sustainable and sustaining program.
- The hidden silver lining of pandemic for Dianna’s organization.
- What’s ahead and what are Dianna’s most pressing charitable needs?
“The only way we can make any meaningful change in the future is by connecting the dots between business and mission.”
“We are meant to fight this fight together.“
“I’ve seen missionaries and organizations comen fired up and ready to fight injustice and leave within a year or two because they’re like, ‘I cannot take it.’ “
“These women are truly heroes. They have truly sacrificed themselves to make sure their families are fed. That’s something that we could never relate to. They had no clue as to when they were going to eat next.”
“We’re trying to keep these families together and that’s happening.”
More about Dianna’s partner organizations on the ground in Thailand:
Textile Training Program
Hand to Hand Foundation:
Injustice Response Training:
A six-week course that gives a foundational view of human trafficking and tools to help in the fight to stop it internationally: https://injusticeresponse.org
Learn more about Dianna and her work at:
“Faith, Hope and Shear Love” is available at many outlets, including:
Mike Thakur is CEO of WorkLodge and Founder at the Gabriel Project. He is on a mission to change lives through entrepreneurship and sustainable social enterprise. With experience both as an executive roles both at established companies and multiple startups (commercial and non-profit), Mike is committed to giving back and creating environments that leave people better off than when they started.
Additional episodes of The Mike Thakur Show available at: https://www.mikethakur.com/show