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Filtering by Tag: The Academy

An Exciting Update on The Academy Launch!

Lindsey Malcolm

International Sanctuary is happy to announce we’re only three days away from launching The Academy! The Academy is iSanctuary’s groundbreaking, comprehensive three-year personal development program which offers income, education, healthcare, and community to survivors rescued from sex trafficking. The Academy will provide every young woman in our program with opportunities to dream of a sustainable future by setting educational and personal development goals in four core areas, while earning an income that supports growth in line with their commitment. The Academy will prepare individuals for a lifetime of sustainable decision-making and self-care.

Celebrating Change

International Sanctuary has spent the past year developing this program. Today we celebrate the culmination of those efforts at our Celebrating Change party at our Mumbai sanctuary! Participation certificates are being awarded as many young women have played critical roles in the development of the program. Say goodbye to the old, and hello to the new! Starting Monday, we are embarking on new systems, schedules, and perspectives. 

Welcome Week

Nervous excitement is building in the sanctuary as the first day of school is anticipated! Students have been assessed and lesson plans have been created. Teachers are finalizing details while a few finishing touches are made to the classrooms. 

Watch this video to hear directly from our founder, Stephanie Pollaro, and program developer, Alyson Holsclaw!

Next week is Welcome Week. Students will begin classes on Monday.  Handbooks, regulations and guidelines will be reviewed and study skills taught. Nervous but excited students will settle into their seats.

We couldn’t be more proud of the courageous young women who have chosen to enroll in The Academy. The bravery required to commit the next three years of their life to something new is remarkable. These young women are true pioneers at iSanctuary and will be the first graduates in June 2019.

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who has given to The Academy! We are so grateful and could not have embarked on this endeavor without the help of our faithful supporters! We are still in need of an additional Hindi speaking therapist as well as scholarships for our young women. If you are interested in the social worker positions, click here!

To support a young woman’s education: Give today! Partner with us in The Academy as we develop stronger, wiser women.

More on The Academy! 

 

 

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

From Trauma to Motherhood: Health Care in the Sanctuary

Alexis Miller

No two iSanctuary women are alike, including their unique needs when it comes to health care. For survivors of human trafficking, health care consists of physical, mental, and emotional components, and requires consistent long-term, quality care. It is necessary to focus on immediate physical needs resulting from trauma, but counseling and addressing emotional wounds is a long process which requires patience and stability. In the Sanctuary, we aim for personalized health care which meets each young woman’s unique needs.

This year, the Mumbai Sanctuary is walking through a new chapter: pregnancy and motherhood. In just a few short weeks, Ana* is having a baby! For a young woman who has experienced trauma and abuse, pregnancy explores the limits of physical, mental, and emotional health. From doctor’s visits discussing the physical development of the baby, to processing the emotional shift to caring for another life, pregnancy tests what it means to be fully healthy.

Community support is central to the development of each young woman’s personal health. Staff accompany participants’ doctor visits to ensure the best care is being provided. Each week, iSanctuary staff discuss with Ana how her baby is growing, the importance of nutrition, and provides space for the emotional processing for how she and her husband will care for their child. Like other first-time moms, Ana dreams of her baby’s future and is learning how to make the best choices for her child.

The Academy will provide specific care for each young woman in the Sanctuary through addressing physical and mental health needs, as well as fostering the vital trait of knowing one’s inherent value, that each young woman is worthy of quality medical care, loving community support, and bright futures. It is our desire that each program participant comes to believe in their value as a woman and learns to live according to this truth.

We have reached 75% of our goal to raise $35,000 this July for The Academy! Will you join us in meeting our goal with a gift supporting healthy young women in the Sanctuary?

*name changed

Beyond the Product: Why Income Matters

Alexis Miller

PURPOSE Jewelry is beautifully handcrafted, providing a young woman rescued from modern-day slavery with a paycheck that she earned. PURPOSE is much more than just a product; it allows young women to become navigators of life. It is an opportunity to dream of life beyond the Sanctuary. Each young woman learns more than how to craft the latest in fashion jewelry, she learns necessary job skills that are marketable beyond the jewelry trade.

After a girl is rescued from trafficking, developing skills to earn an income is critical. If a young woman cannot develop skills to become financially independent, the likelihood of re-exploitation is very high. Without financial independence, survivors have limited options to establish sustainable, positive futures after they are rescued.  

For survivors, earning income with PURPOSE Jewelry is bridging the gap between rescue and independence. Yet beyond the product, iSanctuary is creating and facilitating new opportunities for young women to gain professional experience and reinforce their education.

iSanctuary’s new comprehensive program, The Academy, provides young women with a platform to develop other professional skills including office administration, hospitality, inventory management, sales, events, and more. As the young women learn to dream about and articulate their aspirations, The Academy will help them gain the skills needed to make those dreams a reality.

iSanctuary chooses to stand in the gap and provide young women with financial independence and skills to create the future they choose. The purchase of PURPOSE Jewelry provides a paycheck, and a financial gift to The Academy fashions them to become navigators of life.

Give a gift for The Academy today.

Written by: Alexis Miller, Development and Fundraising Coordinator

The Case for Education

Lindsey Malcolm

Dreaming isn’t an easy activity when options are limited. The only way to increase opportunity in our globally connected world is through the power of education. For many young women in the world, education is still a luxury and unattainable, with an estimated 62 million girls missing from the classroom. In 2010, the literacy gap in South Asia between men and women was 12.4%, while the global gap was only 5.2%. While the gap is closing globally, systemic choices to exclude girls from education will continue to place girls at a disadvantage in achieving their dreams.

In India, this is particularly true, as the country is known for its low education standards, especially for those who fall outside of the elite. Approximately half of rural schools don’t have toilets for girls, and only 48% of fifth grade students can read at a second grade level or answer a two-digit subtraction problem. If a person is allowed to pass by knowing only one-third of the information on an exam, is that person considered well educated or successful?

For the young women in the Mumbai Sanctuary, education is a growing priority, but remains a challenge as it competes for attention with earning money and solving immediate issues. Staff and interns teach English and support the young women in their pursuits, but when volunteer tutors fail to show, it creates a void.

The Academy will fill this void by expanding educational offerings and help the young women create obtainable goals based on their current education level and what they strive for in their futures. A lofty goal of The Academy is to raise the girls’ pass rates on standardized tests to 75% - more than 40% higher than the nationally accepted pass rate of 33%.

We can see the impact of education in the Sanctuary already, with one of our young women attending law school, and others dreaming of careers that require a university education. The Academy will provide more young women with opportunities to learn.

Join us in raising $35,000 this July for The Academy! Will you give a gift to help educate young women in Mumbai? 

Written by: Alexis Miller, Development and Fundraising Coordinator