Project Assembly Line is a social LLC which has committed itself to bringing immediate, tangible improvements to the labor forces of factories based in developing nations. We aim to do this through creating public awareness and promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR).
During his senior year at NYU, Drew Todrys spent one semester at their Shanghai campus. “Last Train Home”, a documentary by Chinese-Canadian director Lixin Fan which follows a family of migrant workers struggling for stability in China had a profound and lasting effect on Todrys.
Using a personal connection he was able to reach out to factories in the Zhejiang Province. Todrys was able to arrange a visit for himself and three NYU colleagues. The appalling conditions and lack of basic necessities motivated him to start an old school fundraising campaign. Although they had identified several areas in need of attention, the coming winter and lack of adequate heating was a deciding factor in where they would focus their efforts.
Despite the language and cultural barrier the group began a series of bakes sales, raffles and man-on-the-street fundraising beginning within the NYU and local Chinese community in Shanghai and also extending to friends and family back home in the USA. With the end of the semester and returning home just three weeks away they applied themselves to the project with dedication and a determination to succeed. What they were able to achieve in those three weeks is a testament to this and a result of which anyone can be proud.
With an initial goal of 20,000 Renminbi (RMB) or $3,166 they were elated with the final amount of 26,850 RMB or US $4,250. This amount, when matched by the corporation operating the factory, was enough for them to purchase 150 winter coats, 150 mini heaters and an entertainment system for the workers of the factory which they had visited. Although such a short campaign is but a drop in a very large pond, his aim was to create a more sustainable effect using the “teach a man to fish” philosophy.
Upon returning to the USA Todrys was not idle and while taking graduate classes at George Washington University, he put together abusiness plan, created and built a website as well as continued networking for Project Assembly Line which officially relaunched in February 2014. PAL is no longer about raising funds to help a group of workers at just a couple factories. Their mission is to partner with corporations operating factories in developing countries, meet with the managers of those factories and identify what is necessary to improving the basic living conditions of their labor force.
As a happy workforce is a productive workforce they will also identify what the factory workers do not need but would like in order to improve their daily lives. Corporations who partner with them will be able to use the PAL “Seal of Approval” which they can display on their website or products and which will show that they embrace the PAL philosophy of “Bottom worker before bottom dollar.”
Their main clients, so to speak, are the factory workers who are forgotten when profit prevails over dignity. Any money which is made through the corporate partnerships and non-tax exempt fundraising will allow Project Assembly Line to reach out to more corporations and extend their reach around the globe.