We are urgently stepping up our support for highly vulnerable communities and beneficiaries during this pandemic. I’m writing to update you on that effort and to share our annual impact report.
We recently launched an emergency response fund to help our frontline partners meet urgent needs and provide life-saving support to the world’s most vulnerable communities. The covid-19 emergency response fund has already raised $2m thanks to the generosity of a number of our core donors and has begun deploying funds to bring immediate support to those most in need. The work of frontline organisations will be ever more crucial in tackling the exploitation of those made more vulnerable by the pandemic. At the Freedom Fund, we remain deeply committed to supporting those communities. You can read more about the work of our response fund here.
And, though it’s hard to see beyond the pandemic right now, we do have more positive news to share. We have just published our latest annual impact report, which reports on some very encouraging developments. Specifically, the report documents that, to date, we and our 100 or so partners have directly impacted the lives of 686,468 men, women and children in slavery or at risk of it. We helped place more than 56,000 at-risk children back in school and liberated over 27,000 people from exploitation. Working together, our frontline partners are promoting policies that protect millions of the world’s most vulnerable people, challenging the underlying systems that allow slavery to persist.
In addition, we have also received powerful external validation of our hotspot model. This model works to concentrate resources by bringing frontline organisations together to collectively tackle exploitation in their communities. Several evaluations of our community-based programs in India by leading research organisations documented a sharp reduction in the prevalence of debt bondage – from 56.2% to 11.4% over a three-year period. Across the 1,100 communities in our northern and southern India programs, this equates to 125,000 fewer individuals in bonded labour.
Our work would not be possible without the generous support of all our investors, for which we are grateful. In 2019, we were pleased to welcome the Cassiopeia Foundation as our newest anchor donor, joining our dedicated community of visionary investors in the fight to end modern slavery.
While more needs to be done to accelerate progress to end slavery, we can take encouragement from the fact that we now have data and proven strategies to better fight this scourge. We extend our thanks and appreciation to all our supporters for enabling our efforts to end modern slavery.