A Winnipeg man is challenging bearded beaus everywhere to shave their facial hair to raise awareness of modern day slavery and social injustice.
Justache October is a fundraiser in support of the International Justice Mission (IJM). The mission seeks to help impoverished and exploited people around the world.
Jason Friesen, the founder of Justache October, was moved to do something after participating in a workshop where he learned about modern day slavery.
He saw a picture of 10 young Cambodian girls who had been the victims of slavery.
"Girls who had been trafficked, who had been exploited. That just sent me for a loop. It turned my world upside down," says Friesen.
That's when he realized he wanted to do more, but didn't have much to give.
"I thought, what do I got? What do I have in my hands? Not a whole lot. What do I have on my face? Well hey, maybe I can do something with my beard. make it into something weird," Friesen said, adding he started the fundraising campaign last year and raised $8,500.
Friesen says the fundraiser is different from similar campaigns, like Movember, in that instead of growing something, it is being taken away.
Participants are encouraged to shave their beards into a half-beard, moustache or mutton chops and raise donations for the cause.
Friesen says the act of shaving off a beard is a reference to some ancient cultures, where captured warriors were disgraced by their enemies by having half of their beard shaved off. By deliberately shaving a part of their beards, participants can show solidarity and support for victims of human trafficking and oppression.
"This is us saying.. we're ok with losing a part of our dignity for the sake of those who have lost so much of theirs," says Friesen
The fundraiser will run the entire month of October and hopes to raise $50,000. The money will go to the IJM and fund projects that advocate for social justice and freedom from oppression.
People can register or donate at www.justacheoctober.com