After a girl escapes 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. However, when our artisans experience financial independence, it is important that they learn how to manage it mindfully. For many of the women, this is the first time they have had control over their own money, leading to a severe lack in financial management skills. They struggle with the ability to see a purpose in their lives and believe in a future that is very different from their past. Few women can see the benefit in saving for the long term, leading many to use their money to satisfy their current wants and needs.
Having arrived with several debts, there was a time when Nazma* struggled to believe her life could be different. Paying off debt requires constant sacrifice and discipline, and Nazma questioned whether it was worth it. In the Sanctuary, we pair new artisans with older artisans who act as mentors. This was a spark of hope for Nazma, because for the first time, she was able to see a girl who had shared the same traumas, living a future that was different. Her mentor inspired her to begin saving and helped her develop a plan to be debt free this year, including a long-term plan to continue saving afterwards. In our program lessons, we incorporate regular sessions on budgeting, the benefits and options available for saving, and the schemes to beware of, to ensure that Nazma, and every other girl, has the tools and information she needs to continue living debt free in the future.
Nazma has shown us that she can exhibit healthy discipline with finances, and through regular follow up sessions, the team ensures she is committed to continuing in this direction. Nazma is one of the 96% of artisans in our program who has her own bank account, making huge strides towards financial independence, and her story now serves as a beacon of hope for new girls beginning their journey to true freedom.
Right now, we have a crisis on our hands. COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption towards everyone's lives, yet we remain committed to Nazma, alongside all 164 in our program. Today, we ask for your financial support as we work to ensure that each woman stays on her path to freedom. They have all made such incredible progress towards freedom. Help them stay on this path.
We need $195,000 to sustain our program through June! Will you walk alongside a young woman to ensure that she can support herself and her family?
*Name’s have been changed to protect anonymity