This Valentine’s Day, we’re spreading the love as far as we can, with three organic cotton t-shirts, each supporting one of these incredible charities: Choose Love, Railway Children and Shelter. 100% of the profits we make will be donated to help fund their life-changing work, from protecting children, to supporting homeless people and helping refugees. Find out more about our chosen charities...
Choose Love (@chooselove)
Choose Love does whatever it takes to provide refugees and displaced people with everything from lifesaving rescue boats to food and legal advice. Their work has reached over one million people and supported over 250 fast-acting community organisations across Europe, the Middle East and along the US-Mexico border. Everything they do is powered by a vision of a world that chooses love and justice every day, for everyone.
Every Choose Love T-Shirt supports LGBTQIA+ refugees and provides hot meals for people in need.
Choose Love is a restricted fund under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund charity number 109968.
"My name is Aloysius Sali and I am a gay man. It’s unimaginable that those simple words, words that I am proud to say, could get me killed in the place I was born. Being gay and proud in Uganda and several countries around the world is a crime. It’s something that can, and does, get many killed.
I was arrested and tortured because of my sexuality back in 2003. After five days in a cold, mouldy cell with no windows I managed to speak to a sympathetic guard and bribe my way out. I escaped and fled to the UK to survive and keep the Say It Loud movement alive, a group I created in Uganda so that we could raise awareness, support LGBT+ rights and ease the loneliness and fear we were all feeling.
When I arrived in the UK, the Home Office didn’t formally recognise sexuality as a reason for claiming refugee status until 2010, so I was forced to live undocumented and in the shadows for five years. I was lonely, isolated and traumatised. At times I had little to eat and nowhere to call home. My life was falling apart, but in 2010 everything changed for me. The Supreme Court in Britain ruled in favour of two gay asylum-seekers. Finally, there was hope that I could get my life back.
When you grow up in a community where being a gay man or lesbian is seen as some kind of evil, it is difficult suddenly to talk openly about one’s sexuality. This fear prevents people from claiming asylum. As a free man, I knew I must help others going through this pain.
I set up the Say It Loud Club in London, compelled to honour the memory of the friends and family I had lost. In granting me protection, the UK gave me a platform to inspire and give others a voice. The club mirrored the one I had started in Uganda. The only difference this time around was that we would not have to hide."
Choose Love supports Aloysius and the Say It Loud Club (@sayitloudclub).
Railway Children (@railwaychildren.uk)
Every year, thousands of vulnerable children run away or are forced to leave homes that have become unbearable due to poverty, violence and neglect.
Railway Children’s mission is to protect those children and reach them before an abuser does and before they are lost to a life of exploitation and abuse. Working across the UK, India and East Africa, the charity makes sure these children are safe and cared for while attempting to reunite them with their families, or find them somewhere safe to live.
But their work doesn’t stop there. Railway Children also works directly with policy makers to persuade them that the protection of vulnerable children should be higher on the political agenda, while also educating communities on the reasons why a child might run away from home and teaching them how to prevent this from happening.
Every Railway Children T-Shirt provides one child staying at one of the charity’s shelters in India with three nutritious meals a day for three weeks.
Deepak was found by Railway Children’s station outreach team when he was wandering around Ghaziabad station after he’d run away from home. The 10-year-old was clearly distressed so the staff at the station’s Child Help Desk comforted him and made sure he had some food and water. He refused to talk about his family, so the team settled him into the Railway Children shelter nearby where he began counselling and eventually opened up to support workers. While he was staying at the shelter, he was happy to join in the informal education sessions and was also supported to give up sniffing glue, which he was addicted to.
As Deepak opened up, the counselling team learnt that he had run away from home after being slapped by his mother. He felt angry and rejected, so he left the house with nowhere to go. Finally, he gave his family’s contact details and the Family Reintegration team met up with them to discuss their son. They were not violent people but struggled to control their son and admitted to lashing out in the hope of making him behave.
While Deepak carried on with counselling at the shelter and the addiction treatment centre, Railway Children began working with his family to help them find better ways of controlling their son. With their support they were able to improve their parenting and communication skills, helping them to understand and support their son. At the same time Deepak has been encouraged to stop hanging around the streets with other children and to get back to school.
Once the Railway Children team felt the time was right, the family were reunited, and follow-up visits have shown how much happier and stronger they are as a family unit together. They’ve moved house and Deepak has started at a new school. His father said: “I am so grateful to you. I never thought he would end up with an addiction and you have helped him. Now I have got my son back.”
Shelter believes that everyone has the right to a safe home. They campaign to end the devastating impact of the housing emergency and have supported millions of people experiencing housing issues and homelessness around the UK.
Shelter offers support over the phone through their free emergency helpline, 365 days a year. They also provide expert information online where people can speak to an adviser over web chat.
In addition to this, they have local services where community hubs provide one-on-one personalised help with housing issues and homelessness. They offer free legal advice and Shelter representatives can attend court with people who have lost their home or are facing eviction.
Every Shelter T-Shirt could help fund Shelter’s emergency helpline.
Choose Love charity reg: 1099682
Railway Children charity reg: 1058991
Shelter charity reg: UK - 263710, Scotland - SC002327, Wales - 515902, Northern Ireland - 105735, Republic of Ireland - CHY 7220