In a rural village, a young 12 year old girl slept on the dirt floor of a shack. Poverty was no stranger to this girl and her family. The villagers, desperate to find daily rice, were going to extreme measures. As the young girl, Sana*, slept, a neighbor crept into the house and kidnapped her. Rendered unconscious, Sana awoke in Mumbai, far from her village and her home. As a young village girl, she was confused and frightened, which led her to trust the one person she knew, her neighbor. He lied and told her that a job had been arranged for her in a restaurant. But Sana never made it to that restaurant. Instead, she spent the first week in Mumbai being beaten, starved and raped in the red light district. Once her spirit was broken, she spent every day and night for the next four years trapped as a slave for a brothel owner, being forced to service up to thirty men a day. Fortunately Sana's story doesn't end in a brothel- she was rescued.
Though Sana was now free, she was left paralyzed with fear and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She felt worthless, hopeless, and mistrusting of everyone she met. Sana was placed in an aftercare home with several hundred teenage girls that had suffered the same abuse. After a few months at the aftercare home, Sana was invited to join iSanctuary's program. Still suffering from depression, Sana reluctantly agreed to participate. Seeing some of the handcrafted jewelry the other girls had created intrigued her. iSanctuary teachers came to the aftercare home several times a week. At first, Sana was hesitant to interact, sitting in a corner by herself while learning the skills and techniques of jewelry making. When the iSanctuary teachers came back each week, Sana would have handfuls of beautifully made earrings. She was able to begin earning an income and saving for her future. Sana gained a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
As the weeks passed, Sana moved from the corner and closer to the rest of the group. She had began to smile and laugh with the other girls, as her joy for life was slowly restored. Sana had finally found a safe and loving community. The kindness and sincerity of the jewelry teachers and iSanctuary staff allowed her to trust again. One day Sana approached the jewelry teacher and stretched out her arm with a closed fist. Slowly opening her palm, she revealed a unique pair of earrings. "These are beautiful! Where did they come from?" the teacher asked, surprised. Sana sheepishly admitted that she had designed them. The skill required to create such a beautiful piece displayed talent far beyond her age. "It's my dream to have a jewelry shop of my own someday," Sana explained. Something as simple as jewelry making allowed a girl who had been traumatized from years of abuse to have hope for a bright future.
Sana currently attends school, and is earning an income creating PURPOSE Jewelry as iSanctuary provides her with the life skills, job training, education, medical care, and counseling she needs to truly heal, and move forward. She is working towards her dream of owning her own business, and that dream is finally tangible thanks to all the people around the world supporting iSanctuary and purchasing PURPOSE Jewelry. Together we can build a bright future for survivors, and change the lives of these young women.