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Blog

Filtering by Tag: dignity

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.

The Gratitude Series: Uganda

Lindsey Malcolm

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Not too long ago, in Spring 2017, we welcomed our first cohort into the Kampala, Uganda Sanctuary. A culture of support, perseverance, and joy must be established for long-term success and, over the last few weeks and months, we’ve seen proof that these seeds have taken root.

Each week, we receive an update from our Program Coordinator in Kampala and with every email, we are overwhelmed with gratitude. Here are some of the excerpts and reasons we give thanks for what is happening in Uganda:

“I wanted to stop, but, Mary, she believed in me. She kept working until I succeeded.” -a participant who struggled making the Mira Cuff and was encouraged and coached by her fellow participant, Mary, for hours under the mango tree

“During the last storm, the power went out and we were all huddled around two small desks with a couple of flashlights; the participants seemed to feel a lot more comfortable with us in such close quarters. They spent the day asking us all kinds of questions: Does it snow in the U.S.? Have we ever seen a bear? Do bears eat people? What do animals eat when everything is covered in snow? They’ve heard that in Alaska, there are sometimes days without night. Is it true? How do people know when to sleep, when to go to work? It was a pretty fun day!” -Emily, our program coordinator

“When we first started making Olivia earrings, everyone was terrible at them and got really frustrated. I saved everyone's first attempt in a little bag with their names attached. After we'd been making them successfully for several days, I handed the first attempts back and everyone had a good laugh at how bad they were. At the end of the day, we asked what they learned and a few of them drew lessons about how it's important to keep with something, even when it’s difficult.” -Emily, our program coordinator

“I enjoy it when things are easy, and when they're hard. When they're hard, I learn and improve my skills; when they're easy, I feel good about how quickly I finished something.” -a woman rebuilding her life in the Kampala, Uganda Sanctuary

“My birthday was yesterday. Several of the participants surprised me with cards, which was sweet and totally unexpected. After lunch, a bunch of them disappeared. We started to wonder if we were going to have give a lecture about attendance, when suddenly they came in singing Happy Birthday, dancing, and showering my head with flower petals.”
-Emily, our program coordinator

During this season of gratitude, we hope you’ll join us in giving thanks that support, perseverance, and joy are alive and well in the Uganda Sanctuary.

If you’re interested in keeping up with the goings on in the Uganda Sanctuary, email ashleymccully@isanctuary.org and she will add you to our Uganda email list.