How did all of this come to be? I marvel at the strength of our international partnerships. Frankly, I can’t recall the beginnings for some of them. In this blog, I’ll discuss a handful of these remarkable alliances. Each one has amplified our work and, hopefully, boosted theirs as well.
How did we connect? It started with @Sian Lea, who was employed there at the time. You can discover their amazing work on their website. Somehow, our paths crossed, and I found out she was originally from Toronto. She visited during Christmas, just after MPAHT began. We met in a coffee shop near my residence – it was an instant connection. Later in the new year, she invited me to join a workshop for https://untf.unwomen.org/en in New York City where Shiva was introducing a training program. I gladly accepted the invitation to lead a table discussion. The event took place shortly after an MPAHT event in Toronto – it was exhilarating, overwhelming, and solidified my relationship with Shiva and Sian (MAHIMA will add photos from that day). Sian has since moved on to https://www.antislavery.org/ and serves on the MPAHT Advisory Council. We remain in touch.
This story is simple – SITE Canada hosted an event shortly after our inception., and @Michelle Guelbart attended as ECPAT’s representative. We had just established a name (MPAHT), and one of our volunteers at the time, Andreal Boulden, and I met Michelle for a drink before the event (notice a pattern?). From there, history was made – Michelle’s involvement with ECPAT, MPI, and MPAHT led to fruitful collaboration. Michelle has since transitioned to other fantastic work in New York City, striving to make the world a better place. She also sits on our Advisory Council https://www.michelleguelbart.com/. While we still maintain our relationship with ECPAT, our paths have diverged slightly – always with the ultimate goal of #endhumanslavery in sight.
Our journey with The Mekong Club started with an extraordinary encounter. To be honest, I don’t quite remember how we first connected with Matt Friedman, the CEO of The Mekong Club, but our initial meeting took place at a coffee shop – the same one where I first met Sian Lea. Over the years, our relationship has blossomed, and my admiration for both Matt and The Mekong Club continues to grow. During the pandemic, thanks to the sponsorship of Robert Thompson from AV-Canada, we organized a virtual event featuring Matt in Hong Kong and Cynthia Bland of Voice Found at AVCanada’s studio. It was a huge success, leading to a follow-up Q&A session. When Matt visited our city recently, our board members enjoyed a relaxed dinner with him and Cynthia, focusing on fostering personal connections instead of discussing business matters. Both Cynthia and Matt are esteemed members of MPAHT’s Advisory Council.
Throughout our journey, several other organizations have contributed to MPAHT’s growth and aided us in our mission to #endhumanslavery. Some groups have sadly ceased to exist, while others remain in contact and continue their invaluable support.
I wholeheartedly thank each of you, whether you’re in the UK, Hong Kong, the US, or Canada.
Until we meet again,
Sandy Biback, Founder