The Changemakers Series with Grace Forrest
As a business, we stand for both the people and planet. We feel there is no better time than now to champion those women in the world that are working tirelessly to spread a message of radical justice.
Over the next few weeks we will feature new generation leaders and progressive minds that are fighting for a better world, using their work and platforms to inspire, engage and educate for change. Real lasting change.
Look no further than Grace Forrest, the founder of Walk Free Foundation, the world’s largest community dedicated to ending human trafficking & modern slavery, and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Anti-Slavery.
We spoke to Grace during the final week of Covid-19 lockdown about work, her personal style, and how lockdown has allowed her to spend more time doing the things she loves.
Wake up early, do my 5 minute journal in bed, feed & cuddle my daughter (kitten) Caper, attempt some form of physical exercise, make a cup of tea and head to my desk/office.
What is your everyday style?
Casual, quirky & conscious.
What are you currently working on? Does it differ much during this time?
Working on human rights issues in the midst of a global pandemic is kind of like trying to drink from a fire hydrant.
Vulnerability we were already deeply concerned about has now increased ten-fold in some places. Pair that with widespread xenophobia and rising nationalism and we’re looking an tens of millions of people being left behind or excluded from national action plans. All while existing human rights concerns move to the periphery for governments as well as the public eye.
We (Walk Free) recently released the report ‘Protecting people in a pandemic’ to help shape business and government responses during COVID19 to ensure the protection of those most vulnerable to exploitation and modern slavery. So we’ve been hosting stake-holder engagement meetings to see some of our recommendation come into fruition as well as doing media on the reports findings to try and get some public pressure up. I recently did a live cross for Sri Lanka’s biggest news network on the report, as Sri Lanka alone has over a million migrant workers currently trapped overseas. We also did a WFH conversation with The Anti-slavery Collective, co-founded by HRH Princess Eugenie and Julia De Boinville which you can watch here.
Tips for staying motivated?
Be grateful, get outside, cook for someone you love. I know it sounds simple, but in this globally uncertain time any of us who still have jobs and are able to work from home in a safe environment are absolutely the lucky ones. We are the exception to the rule. Having just produced a report on the inability for hundreds of millions of people throughout the world being unable to socially or financially isolate, having to choose in some cases between contagion or starvation, I don’t take my position of privilege for granted. I would argue all of us in a stable position right now have an opportunity to give back in some way.
Time at home – new hobby?
I have been doing a lot of cooking (and eating) which brings me so much joy and fulfilment! So much of what we do at Walk Free requires collaboration and long term planning to build systems change – so it is very empowering to start something (like dinner) and know that at the end of it, the task will be done! And it will (hopefully) be delicious! I recently made spicy lemon pickle from a surplus of lemons I had which I’ve been sharing and trading with friends!
What are you reading?
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (A former international hostage negotiator on his approach to high-stakes negotiations)
What podcast are you listening to?
‘A New Earth’ – with Eckhart Tolle
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
It’s a trip, but its awesome.
What are you watching?
Master Chef. I bloody love it.
What are you doing to lessen your impact on the environment?
By default of COVID19, its been brilliant to be “grounded” and take a break from flying. Even though organisationally we offset all our flights, it is still an incredibly wasteful industry which for us is usually impossible to avoid. Being a leader of an international human rights group usually requires me to move around fairly frequently, on average I usually spend half my year overseas. So its been brilliant (albeit very challenging at times) to work through time zones, language and cultural barriers online. We are still able to push ahead with some really exciting new research for 2020, we’ve just had to get quite innovative and build more capacity into some our partnering organisations. I hope it will set a new tone post covid19, where people travel far less. Smaller things include not drinking any takeaway coffee at the moment as I can no longer use my keep cup and supporting local seasonal produce through my cooking + what we grow in our garden – things are getting pretty creative.
Latest recipe below:
Warm chickpea salad with fresh thyme & Feta
Comforting & wintery made with pantry staples and odds from the garden
- Soak chickpeas overnight until soft and ready for cooking OR decant from tin. Save the liquid from the tin as a vegan alternative to egg whites – you can make meringue with it!
- Finely chop 2 big bulbs of garlic and add to a heated pan with olive oil.
- Once garlic is translucent add one chopped fresh chilli (I like it hot) and a couple of anchovies to melt into the garlic oil.
- Dice 2 medium size tomatoes and add to pan with a spoon full of tomato paste.
- Sautee until toasty then add the cooked chickpeas, make sure to toss to fully coat each of the peas!
- Cut a healthy amount of feta cheese and crumble half into the mixture, once slightly melted remove from heat and place in a bowl.
- Top with the rest of the feta, fresh thyme, chilli flakes and raw olive oil.