By Grace Stanton
Bucklands Beach resident Dean Lovell-Shippey ran a 50km ‘marathon’ and raised more than $2000 for aid and development agency Tearfund New Zealand.
“I’ve never done more than 42km before. I’ve done a few marathons in recent years, but this was the biggest run to date,” Lovell-Shippey says of the race in October this year.
He was raising money for Tearfund’s partners who work to prevent human-trafficking by educating communities of the dangers, rescue victims, bring perpetrators to justice, and helping reintegrate survivors back into the community if they have been trafficked.
“With such a tough year for many, it was such a pleasant surprise to see that people still felt prompted to give. It helps that it is such a worthy cause; I find that people will always open their hearts for this issue.”
The money was raised by live-streaming the run on Instagram.
“When I first heard about the atrocities of human trafficking and specifically child sex trafficking, my heart broke into a million pieces. I could not believe that there were children in the world, some as young as new-born babies, being treated in such a way,” Lovell-Shippey says.
“After hearing about all of this, I couldn’t simply sit back and do nothing.”
And he didn’t. He started his own organisation called Find Her Smile in 2015.
It started as a one-month fundraiser back in October 2015. The goal was to raise $5000 in 30 days. With the help of his supporters, they managed to raise the money with days to spare.
“During that month our Facebook page gained a huge amount of traction and our supporter base grew. I was invited to speak to a few youth groups and schools around east Auckland and, before I knew it, the one-month fundraiser turned into an organisation,” he says.
“We were invited to speak at almost every school in east Auckland as well as several churches, groups and my own university. In and amongst the sudden growth, we also launched a clothing line.”
At the beginning of 2020, Find Her Smile signed on to be an official partner with Tearfund New Zealand.
“It’s been so great to work with an organisation that shares our passion and heart for the fight against human trafficking. Being able to raise money for the work they do is such a privilege,” Lovell-Shippey says.