Today we’d like to introduce you to Prisca Bejjani.
Hi Prisca, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Libertas Fashion Show was born out of a dream for a slavery-free world. Libertas Home is a nonprofit in Northern Virginia that raises awareness about child abuse and trafficking and plans to build a safe home for survivors as well.
Two of our board members happen to have been models, so a fashion show was almost naturally a choice for a fundraiser!
We were tired of hearing the stories of traffickers who found their victims by promising them modeling work, and sick to hear that sex traffickers in our area target mostly girls of color.
We decided to turn that on its head by using funds from the fashion show to support survivors of trafficking! A model agency director in the area, Harley Morgan, is also passionate about keeping his models safe, so we got to work with him for the show, too!!
We were absolutely blown away by the support we received from other members of the creative community—from models to designers to bloggers to photographers!
We were lucky to have the celebrity designer Miguel Wilson Collection in our show, as well as Trerese Roberts, a former and current pageant winner who designs her own dresses. We also were the first show to display the work of Alkebulan Prints, who creates beautiful work using African prints!
The year before, we had had a photoshoot to create pictures for our nonprofit website. It was so exciting to have three of the models who donated their time to model for the website also walk in our show!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It was definitely a learning curve! Walking in runway shows doesn’t necessarily train you to throw a runway show yourself! The hardest part was getting sponsors, mostly because I have the unfortunate habit of hating to ask people for money, even though it is an amazing cause. We did get some sponsors eventually, though!
We’re grateful for the advice we got, especially from Adrian, the founder of NY Fashion Meets DC. Stephanie White, a local event coordinator, also donated her time for the cause and was super helpful in anticipating and managing road bumps along the way.
However, even though it was our first time, one of our models, Ally Swanson, told me later, “This was honest to goodness one of the best shows I’ve been part of.” Coming from a very experienced model like her, that meant a lot!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Currently, my work involves directing Libertas Home, a nonprofit dedicated to ending sex trafficking and child abuse in the DMV. We are raising funds for a safe home for trafficking victims (and Libertas Fashion Show was one of the fundraising events for that .)
We also run preventative programs to help parents protect their children from online predators. It’s no use having a safe home to restore shattered innocence if we don’t also work to protect children before they are abused in the first place. This isn’t a business. I don’t want to see the safe home still open twenty, thirty years down the road, because I want to see our society healed enough that child abuse and buying sex from minors is unthinkable.
What makes you happy?
I love getting art supplies and books! I also love painting, reading, and writing. When I have time, of course!
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://libertashome.org/
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/libertasfashionshow?utm_medium=copy_link