Social entrepreneur Dr. Rebecca Thomley and Award-winning author Shamim Sarif are teaming up to address issues related to trafficking. Headwaters Relief Organization, an international non-profit disaster relief organization, founded by Thomley, is partnering with Shamim Sarif to educate communities about the risks of trafficking, and to support those who have experienced it.
Around the world – and close to home – as many as four million people are trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation every year. About 50% of those abused in this way are children.
Thomley, a founding member of Global Thinkers Forum, sees this collaboration as an opportunity to reach those who are vulnerable and to empower people through education. She also appreciates the partnership between Sarif and Headwaters from a leadership perspective. Women seeking to support each other’s work and collaborating in unique ways aligns with Global Thinkers Forum’s values and mission.
According to Thomley: “We have encountered trafficking nationally and internationally in our disaster work.” Headwaters Relief organization supports the needs of families and communities after tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, fires and man-made disasters. “Traffickers may take advantage of children and families made vulnerable by these conditions.”
Education and awareness are key to protecting loved ones from becoming victims. Traditionally, services have been developed to support people who have been victimized by trafficking. Headwaters uses storytelling to provide education to children and their families about the risks as well as to discuss harmful social and cultural practices that can support trafficking.
One of Headwaters’ award-winning initiatives is creating children’s books as tools for education, as well as for helping survivors build coping skills and develop resiliency. Sarif explains: “That strategy drew my attention because my stories often encompass social justice.” Sarif’s new novel, “The Athena Protocol”, a young adult thriller which Harper Collins will publish on October 8, 2019, addresses trafficking as a global issue.
Sarif reached out to Thomley and Headwaters because of their common interest in educating young people about trafficking through storytelling. With the proceeds of her novel, “The Athena Protocol”, Shamim Sarif will help fund efforts to educate people and to stop exploitation through trafficking.
In the book, Athena is a top-secret, socially conscious, all-female organization that combats injustice against women and children around the world. The protagonist, Jessie, is a young, hot-headed agent embroiled in a daring mission to take down a human trafficking operation in Belgrade.
Sarif will donate 100 % of the affiliate fees she receives for each book purchased through the links on her website to Headwaters Relief Organization.
“The Athena Protocol” has been released on October 8, 2019 and is available now for pre-order. Each book purchased through the links on Sarif’s website will result in a donation to Headwaters Relief Organization. This is a great opportunity to contribute to an important cause while buying a book that readers will enjoy!
To order “The Athena Protocol” visit https://shamimsarif.com/the-athena-protocol/. To learn more about how Headwaters Relief Organization is trying to prevent human trafficking around the world, visit https://www.headwatersrelief.org/initiatives/human-trafficking/.
Sarif believes the impact of storytelling is huge. “Stories can be empowering, giving us characters we identify with and a framework to understand our own lives and humanity.” Sarif hopes to build awareness amongst young adults who read “The Athena Protocol” and perhaps motivate a desire to make a difference with this global problem.
Headwaters Relief Organization is keenly aware of the need to educate potential victims, families and community leaders about the possibility of trafficking and to further support those who have experienced trafficking.
Dr. Rebecca Thomley
CEO, Orion Associates
Dr. Rebecca Thomley is an entrepreneur and a licensed psychologist. She is Chief Executive Officer of Orion Associates and its related companies. Orion Associates provides management services to related and unrelated, for-profit and non-profit companies nationally, primarily in the social service field.
Orion Associates has been recognized for the past 5 years as one of the ten fastest growing women-owned businesses nationally and internationally. Orion Associates and a related company have also been recognized by Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 for fastest growing companies for the past 5 years.
Rebecca is one of the founding members of Headwaters Relief Organization. Headwaters responds nationally and internationally to disasters providing first response, public health interventions, psychosocial support and education, medical support and clean-up and re-building. Headwaters maintains on-going services in New Orleans and Haiti.
Rebecca has earned graduate degrees in Psychology, Business, Psychopharmacology and Public Health. She serves in advisory roles as a volunteer for the American Red Cross and the American Psychological Association’s Disaster Resource Network. Rebecca has published, written and edited books on breast cancer and international children’s books related to trauma. She has co-authored numerous research studies related to volunteerism and trauma based on her work with Headwaters Relief Organization.
Writer & Director
Writer and director Shamim Sarif is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and film director.
Her new book, The Athena Protocol, is an all-female contemporary action thriller that will be released by Harper Collins in October 2019 as the first in a Young Adult series. The book is currently being developed as a film franchise.
Shamim’s most recent feature as writer/director is Despite the Falling Snow, which released in the US in March 2017. The movie stars Rebecca Ferguson and Charles Dance and is based on her acclaimed second novel set in Cold War Moscow, published by St Martin’s Press and Hodder. The movie has garnered 13 awards to date.
Her first feature film as writer/director, ‘I Can’t Think Straight’ won 11 awards and Shamim also wrote lyrics for two of the songs in the movie. Her follow up movie ‘The World Unseen’ based on her award-winning book, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival before garnering 23 awards internationally. Her third film, a documentary called ‘The House of Tomorrow’, was shot on location in Jerusalem.
Shamim’s next film project is Polarized; a contemporary love story between two women from very different sides of small town America. She is also adapting the screenplay for The Athena Protocol and working on a musical of I Can’t Think Straight.
An accomplished speaker, Shamim has spoken at TED events worldwide, at the INK Conference in India and DLD in Munich. Corporate speaking events have included Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Citibank and Disney.
Apart from her awards for films and books, Shamim is the recipient of several other accolades including the Variety Catherine award in 2017.
‘Despite the Falling Snow’ Trailer:
‘The World Unseen’ Trailer:
‘I Can’t Think Straight’ Trailer:
‘The House of Tomorrow’ Trailer:
‘Stories We Tell Ourselves’:
‘Why Art Matters’:
‘The Power of Imagination’: