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Blog

Filtering by Tag: economic empowerment

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.

3 Things You Can Do To Help Today

Lindsey Malcolm

Over the last two days, we’ve shared with you why we’re opening our doors in Kampala, Uganda, explained how the funds we are raising will being spent, and introduced you to our first cohort of survivors.

We are certain our model of economic empowerment will help break the cycle of poverty, escape trafficking forever, and help them build bright futures for themselves and their families.

With 83% unemployment among Ugandan girls and young women, International Sanctuary may be the only employment opportunity available to them; without it, they may be forced, tricked, or sold into slavery. Our research has proven employment is the key to long-term success and total transformation.

With life pulling us in many directions, time has become a most precious resource. Thankfully, technology gives our supporters a path to quick, easy, and secure giving. Also, because of our incredibly generous donor who has agreed to match up to $50,000, taking a few minutes to donate will have twice the impact!

There are 3 powerful things you can do right now to help Bring Freedom to Uganda

  • Give -- So far, donors like you have opened the door of freedom to 33 girls. We still have 7 more invitations to give! Will you help one more begin her journey of healing?

  • Sponsor -- You can walk with our girls every step of the way when you give the gift of true freedom on a regular basis. Our automated system can securely process your payment every month, week, or quarter. Because PURPOSE covers all of the operating expenses, every dollar entrusted to us by our donors goes directly to serve survivors as they rebuild their lives.

  • Share -- After you give, introduce our cause to 3 people and ask them to get involved. Whether you email this blog to your family, post it on Facebook, or text the Bring Freedom to Uganda link to a friend, you can also make a difference by spreading the word!

Meet Our First Cohort in Uganda!

Lindsey Malcolm

Yesterday, we shared why we’re intent on serving survivors in in Uganda. With unemployment at 83%, young Ugandan women are trapped in extreme poverty and are sold, forced, or tricked into slavery every day. Today, you may find yourself asking who exactly are we serving and how is your donation being spent?

Let us introduce you to our first cohort:

Adia  *  Anana  *  Agatha

Maha  *  Matina  *  Momina

Pamela  *  Primrose  *  Prema  *  Semira

These ten girls have come to International Sanctuary in search of a safe, healing workplace community where they can learn transferrable job skills and have meaningful employment. Our partner in Uganda, Willow International, has been providing for their immediate care needs and is recommending each of them for our program.

When a girl is invited to participate in our program, she is provided with a workspace (which keeps her out of a trafficker’s reach), tools and materials to make beautiful, hand-crafted jewelry, training and instruction from an experienced International Sanctuary mentor, issued the appropriate licenses, certificates, and permits to work, and (most importantly) a fair wage to put her on the path to financial freedom.

The first 40 invitations require $3,750 each. After the first 40 girls go through the program, the Sanctuary is entirely sustainable, meaning the sales through PURPOSE Jewelry can cover the operation costs for the duration of the program. 40 invitations at $3,750 each means $150,000 is needed to open a Sanctuary and bring it to sustainability.

As you can see from our Bring Freedom to Uganda thermometer, we almost have what it will take to run the Sanctuary until the jewelry sales can sustain it. Remember, a very generous donor has agreed to match up to $50,000 in donations so when you give $250 today, it could really be $500! If you have the ability to give $3,750 and open the door of true freedom to one girl, the match can open another door to another survivor.

Bring Freedom to Uganda today and help her

  • Break the cycle of poverty

  • Escape trafficking forever

  • Build a better future for herself and her family

Bring Freedom to Uganda

Lindsey Malcolm

Did you know International Sanctuary is raising money to open our doors in Kampala, Uganda? Our campaign is called Bring Freedom to Uganda and we have raised $121,400 of our $150,000 goal!

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While trafficking varies in every country due to government, culture, and economy, the trauma suffered by the victims is largely the same. Here in southern California, we serve survivors of trafficking who have large gaps in their education, do not have any way of supporting themselves financially, and escaped trafficking feeling broken, isolated, and rejected. The girls 9,394 miles away in Kampala feel the same way.

Ugandan girls and young women suffer from 83% unemployment. Trapped in extreme poverty without any employment opportunities, they are highly vulnerable to be exploited or sold, forced, or tricked into slavery. Not only do trafficking victims in the world come from Uganda, there are also victims who manage to escape while passing through the country en route to other places. 

Human trafficking is a global issue, affecting every country in the world. When we see this injustice, we can’t help but feel like we should do something, but it can be tough to know where to start.

There are 3 powerful things you can do right now to help Bring Freedom to Uganda:

  • Give -- A very generous donor has agreed to match all donations up to $50,000 so that means your contribution can pack twice the punch! Technology has made it so easy to give, that you can make a meaningful difference in a matter of minutes.

  • Sponsor -- If you’d like to give the gift of true freedom on a regular basis, our automated system can securely process your payment every month, week, or quarter. Because PURPOSE covers all of the operating expenses, every dollar entrusted to us by our donors goes directly to serve survivors as they rebuild their lives.

  • Share -- After you give, introduce our cause to 3 people and ask them to get involved. Whether you email this blog to your family, post it on Facebook, or text the Bring Freedom to Uganda link to a friend, you can also make a difference by spreading the word!

When you join us in this fight, you will save and transform lives. Your involvement can mean a bright future not just for a survivor, but for her daughter, her family, and her community. Together, we can prevent these girls from being trafficked across international borders into places like the Middle East and Asia, even farther from their homes and from the hope they so desperately need. You are a force for change in this world  - you can do something big!

Click here to Bring Freedom to Uganda today.