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17935 Sky Park Cir
Irvine, CA, 92614
United States

(949) 752-7788

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Blog

Filtering by Tag: transformation

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.

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.

Reclaiming Agency through Art

Lindsey Malcolm

Anandi tends to stay quiet at lunch. While we gather around the mishmash of desks for our clamorous, giggly afternoon break, she eats her dahl and chapatti inconspicuously, nods along with the streams of chatter, and discreetly cleans up to get ready for work. The boisterous banter and expressive storytelling of her peers often eclipses Anandi’s shy demeanor. In the afternoon, she works on her jewelry pieces with care and reliability, but she rarely exhibits exuberance—at lunchtime or in the workshop.

Last week, she tapped Collyn, our Design Intern, on the shoulder. Anandi held a student laptop in her arms, and a tiny corner-of-the-mouth smile on her face divulged an unusually forthcoming spark. Anandi turned the screen of her laptop so Collyn could see a file of photos; as she began scrolling through them, Collyn realized that Anandi had curated a photo collection of jewelry pieces from around the Web that inspired her. She clicked and clicked through a vast array of images, demurely smiling and more assuredly nodding as Collyn began smiling too. Collyn, initially bemused at Anandi’s rare tap on the shoulder, felt profoundly upended by gratitude that Anandi had shared an intimate sliver of her creativity.

Anandi’s demonstrable excitement and evident proclivity for curating a design concept moved Collyn to ask her if she would like to lead the creation of a new Purpose Jewelry piece. Anandi bashfully accepted and throughout the week, the two worked together to produce a concept, some sketches, a color palette, and eventually, a finished model. April, iSanctuary’s head jewelry designer, loved the finished piece, and approved the model to be sent out with rest of the samples in that line.

In the entire two months that Collyn has worked for iSanctuary, Anandi has been the first woman to approach her with a personal, imaginative concept. Anandi took the initiative to share her artistic predilections, to offer her distinctive insights into Purpose Jewelry designs, and, with guidance, support, and tweaks from Collyn, to create her own model for a new product. Collyn had the privilege of witnessing Anandi peak out of her shell and take a leap of faith in order to share and pursue her art. To relinquish safe ground and hurdle into the obscure, rutted swamplands of “following your dreams”—where vulnerability to self-doubt and external criticisms is stymied only by the fortitude of one’s belief in their vision—is a terrifying bound for any innovator. For a shy artisan recovering from trauma, betrayal, and systematic violence, the choice to open herself up, to make herself exposed to criticism and rejection, and to forgo defenses in pursuit of her creative aspirations, is monumental.

Anandi thrived in the oft-shambolic process of breathing life into her imagination and emerged triumphant, finished design model in-hand. The efflorescence of Anandi’s confidence through taking ownership of her artistry attests to the value of the creative space iSanctuary aims to provide. We encourage participants to generate their own ideas, follow them to fruition, and inspire each other, hoping that these habits will support their art in the workshop and reinforce self-agency in circumstances outside of the jewelry studio. We believe that this space, in which survivors assert their voices, take on responsibilities, and revel in their imaginative propensities, begets recovery, self-efficacy, and sustainable liberation. Anandi, and the women she inspires with her assertive artistry, incarnate the transformative affects that we aspire to engender in our Purpose Jewelry workshop.