Blog Post - Jan 1, 2022
Our vision of making a safer world not only applies to our rugged products and our reliable technical support and customer service – although they certainly play a big role. We believe that people have inherent value, and that everyone, no matter their economic situation or global location, should feel safe in their homes and be given the opportunity to flourish. That’s why we partner with organizations with proven experience combating natural disasters, conflict, injustice, and poverty around the world.
Longtime Dairyland partner, International Justice Mission (IJM), is a global organization that works with local justice systems to end violence against people living in poverty. Their three-phase model includes rescuing and restoring victims, bringing criminals to justice, and strengthening local justice systems.
Since 2005, IJM has been working in Guatemala, fighting for the protection of children, many of whom live in red zones – extremely dangerous areas where sexual violence is rampant. In collaboration with Guatemala’s Public Ministry (Prosecution Services), IJM has developed and implemented trauma-informed processes for prosecuting sexual assault cases and has trained and mentored members of the police department as well as prosecutors and judges to protect their nation’s poor and vulnerable. As noted on IJM’s website, Guatemala was once deemed by human rights experts, “a country too broken, and [one that] would never protect the poor” but is now seeing historic change through long-term interventions and empowering partnerships.
In 2019, Dairyland’s Director of Culture and Formation, Kailey Dharam, traveled to Guatemala City to better understand the unique historical and contextual challenges IJM faces, and to witness their interventions firsthand. While there, Kailey toured a city dump-turned-housing-community, a sex crimes police unit, and restorative housing projects with programming for victims. Through it all she had the opportunity to speak with and learn from IJM staff and clients.
During her time in Guatemala City, Kailey was invited to participate in the Day of Joy, an IJM event devoted to celebrating the healing and resilience of individuals and families who have been victims of physical, emotional, and/or sexual violence. On the Day of Joy, survivors who have been restored by IJM’s team—primarily children—are joined by safe family members, IJM team members, and sometimes special guests for a lighthearted excursion in the city. Kailey and other approved visitors were paired with small family units, bonding with one another as they enjoyed lunch and explored the Guatemala City Zoo.
“With tears in her eyes, the mom of the family I was paired with spoke about the pain their family has been through but also how encouraging days like this were, reminding them of how far they’ve come,” said Kailey.
Though recovery is often complicated and ongoing, the Day of Joy is a courageous proclamation of hope, and that happiness is possible again.
Dairyland’s vision is to ‘Live Engaged to Make a Safer World.’ We work hard to make this a reality through our products and solutions, but that vision is also actualized through dignifying human protection like IJM fosters.
Traveling elsewhere invites us to reflect and think about our own communities and engagement with them. It’s easy for me to step into a new country and condemn the brokenness I see, but am I also willing to look at what happens in my city? Am I willing to think about the larger systems at play that perpetuate violence and inequality? How does seeing something like what I witnessed in Guatemala change how I live at home? These are the questions that these experiences often draw out, and reinforce why both local and global engagement matter.
– Kailey Dharam, Director of Culture and Formation