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Filtering by Tag: PURPOSE Jewelry

Surprised by Hope

Lindsey Malcolm

By Seema D.

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I have been supporting International Sanctuary since January 2009. International Sanctuary empowers survivors of human trafficking through a unique model integrated employment, education, healthcare, and community.

Growing up, my parents could never provide me with answers to my troubling observations as we visited India. Not until I was 18 did I realize the atrocity of human trafficking, that girls were being sold for sex. Since having my two daughters, I have become even more passionate about fighting for women’s rights.

For years, I have heard about the courageous young women escaping human trafficking and imagined a time when I would meet them. Finally, this past summer, I was able to meet them face to face in Mumbai, India.

The Sanctuary, however, was not at all what I expected. Walking in, I anticipated a heaviness which you would expect in an environment fostering healing from trauma. Instead, I experienced joy, hope, and a spirit of bold confidence.

I had the opportunity to teach a Life Skills & Professionalism session in The Academy, their 3-year educational program. The session included a Q&A on cultural barriers and how to overcome them. I was able to share with them a bit about my beliefs and perspectives, and encourage them in their growth and development. Many of the girls expressed challenges that they were currently experiencing and discussed ways to work through them.

I also had the opportunity to sit down in the workshop and have one of the young women teach me how to make a piece of jewelry. We bonded as she demonstrated the skills needed to handcraft such beautiful creations. I gained incredible respect for the determination required to hone her craft.

It was an honor to be able to meet 25 of my new sisters and become their Didi; I look forward to returning.

It's International Women's Day!

Lindsey Malcolm

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In 2011, I had the privilege to be amongst women from Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and North Africa for a conference I was coordinating. A few days into the conference, I went to breakfast and every woman I encountered was wishing me, "Happy Women’s Day!" I was confused at first because, honestly, I had never heard this before. It turns, out, it was in fact International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8 every single year. In that moment, I googled the “day” and read the history attached to it. As a college student studying Gender & Women Studies as a minor, I felt pretty ashamed I hadn’t heard of this! As the day continued I joined in the well-wishes to each woman I encountered.  

It was beautiful: a woman from across the globe bringing awareness to me so then I, too, could share with others love, value, and worth through the simplicity of a phrase, “Happy Women’s Day!” You guessed it, today is International Women’s Day! Today we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women! No matter how big or small, today we celebrate. We must celebrate today, to be a giant megaphone to each other, to our friends, family, men and women alike, shouting from the rooftops bringing dignity to those whose has been stripped away. Human trafficking affects millions of women in every country of the world. Let us not miss today as an opportunity to be bold for them!

What can you do to help victims of human trafficking today?

1.    Tell Someone – Call, text, email, post on social media, just get the word out to your friends and family that today is a day to recognize women for their value and worth.
2.    Thank Her – Consider saying "thank you" to a woman who has made a difference in your life by purchasing a piece of jewelry that’s been hand-crafted by a survivor of human trafficking. By shopping with PURPOSE Jewelry, you’re supporting efforts to keep these survivors employed and at much lower risk of being forced back into trafficking.
3.    Give Freedom – Did you know we’re opening a Sanctuary in Uganda? Girls and young women who have escaped trafficking in Kampala will have a safe, healing place to rebuild their lives – you can help us open the doors!

Written by Chelsea Maietta, Community Involvement Coordinator for International Sanctuary

Sustainable Recovery and Self-Love

Lindsey Malcolm

As a community, we’re working towards extricating the trenchant remnants of abuse, neglect, subjugation, and psychological torment that mar our participants’ lives, even after rescue. We’re fighting for healing, for self-love and trust, for faith and peace of mind, and for protection against the recurring waves of terror and psychosomatic tolls that trauma can induce. Recovery from trauma is fundamental for sustainable freedom from trafficking, reintegration to society, health and wellbeing, finding fulfillment, and obtaining self-efficacy. 

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At iSanctuary, we tailor trauma-informed programming to the specific issues that our participants are dealing with. It’s vital for us to make space for our participants to speak and give insight into their feelings, thoughts, and experiences with iSanctuary. In order to create effective aftercare resources, we need to know what each woman needs to disengage from the long-lasting repercussions of her trauma.

Recently, we asked the iSanctuary artisans how they know they are loved. Do they believe that a pathway to self-love could be a link in the journey of recovery? If they discuss the authentic connotations and experiences that inform their notions of love and self-worth, what emerges? How would they articulate their feelings of belonging, worthiness, beauty, and purpose?

These are their words.

“I am loved because… my friends and family celebrate me and support me in many things.” –Sujata

“I am cherished because… I have a happy community that cares for me, gives peace, and protects each other.” –Anandi

“I am treasured because… my friends and my boyfriend treat me really well and love me so much. They check in and ask me how I am doing all the time, so I know they care.” –Priya

“I am beautiful because God made different faces for everyone, and I know He made my face and looks after me.” –Vrinda

“I am radiant because I have strength. When I was at the beach with my friends, in my fancy clothes, laughing together, I knew I was radiant and I knew I was strong. My friends support me and I felt the shining kind of beauty.” –Pari

The resonant current in these snippet stories of rebuilding self-love, finding a route to healing, and overcoming trauma is the transformative power of community. Their words illustrate the significance of friends, family, and supportive spaces that foster resilience and affection and spirited individuality. Our infectiously affectionate community enables healing through shared work, collective goals, compassionate listening, profound friendship, and support. This unity precipitates liberation from the after-effects of trauma. In all of our customary, day-to-day rituals—sharing curries and roti at lunch, teasing each other in Hindi and English, lingering in rapt conversations, energizing one another through collaborative design, and triumphantly embracing when any person succeeds in a task of any size—the value of community is evident. In our humble, hectic, bustling, witty, sensitive, dogged, beautiful studio, jewelry means freedom.