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Irvine, CA, 92614
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Blog

Filtering by Tag: Community

Stronger and Wiser for the Second Generation

Alexis Miller

As the women in our Mumbai Sanctuary grow and change, so do their families! Several of the women are married, one is a recent mother, and one is a brand new mama-to-be! Watching the young women become wives and mothers naturally should be celebrated, but even more so because of obstacles which they have overcome. As shared in The Art of Dreaming, many young ladies must learn to dream, to plan and establish bright futures for themselves. With the addition of a husband and child, we are working to create stronger, wiser families.

During the past couple months I have had the privilege to encourage one of our expectant mothers. Each week we read a website explaining her baby's development. As her pregnancy progresses, the website highlights a fruit or vegetable that represents the baby's size or weight. Of course, she loves the veggie comparisons!  How fun for her to be able to hold a mango and think, "My baby is this big!" What a joy to see the thrill on her face as she learns more about her baby, and as she talks about her and her husband's plans for taking care of the child.

The loving and stable environments that iSanctuary mothers are able to give to their children provide a stark contrast to the worlds in which many of our Sanctuary participants were raised. This is our ultimate goal at iSanctuary: creating stronger, wiser women who create healthy, sustainable futures. Little girls who are valued and educated. Stable income sources for parents. A lack of the fear and violence that often lead to abuse of young girls and women. These kinds of things are necessary in order to give survivors of human trafficking a way out of the cycle that could so easily claim them otherwise. At iSanctuary, the second generation represents for us the long-term victories that we fight to give our ladies the space and resources to achieve. That makes those little baby fingers and toes more precious to us than almost anything else I can imagine.

Erin Arendse
Program Liaison 

Rebuilding Trust through Resilient Community

Alexis Miller

Our community reinforces the idea: You belong.

In a recent survey of iSanctuary Mumbai participants, 77% described the community environment as the element they value most about their experience working at iSanctuary. Over half described the Sanctuary as family. This data is exciting because it shows that our program is working.

Many human trafficking survivors have complex social histories that may include neglect and betrayal from those close to them beginning at a young age. Isolation from others is one of the primary means that traffickers use to coerce and dominate their victims.  Any sense of belonging to a community that they previously had is stripped away.

Being a part of the iSanctuary community reduces isolation and allows for self-development, team work, and improved social skills. Resilient community support empowers people to follow their dreams and make positive choices for the future. We rally together to encourage each iSanctuary woman to become the best version of herself, and the community allows safe space to consider how she can successfully achieve her dreams.  

Forming a strong community during reintegration for human trafficking survivors is critical to healing. It is important for iSanctuary to cultivate ways for the women we serve to heal. Simply providing employment, support, counseling, or education is not enough; it is the community that ties each of these things together and creates a long-term impact. We recognize that while they are ready to move ahead with new chapters in their lives, the young women are still struggling to formulate their identities and learning to relate to others without mistrust, fear, and confusion.

As we develop The Academy, we are exploring ways to purposefully build on our current community by incorporating group belonging and healing into all that we do. The Academy will strengthen the community through intentional focus on rebuilding trust and fostering essential character traits such as integrity and gratitude.  

With each birthday that we celebrate, with each English lesson, with each opportunity for the young women to teach and guide each other in work activities, we seek to cultivate community membership, responsibility, and care.

Join us in creating a thriving, healing-focused community with The Academy. Give a gift today and help us reach our goal of $35,000 this July!

Co-Authored by: Alyson Emory Holsclaw, Program Development Specialist and Alexis Miller, Development and Fundraising Coordinator