Today, due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, many women in Mumbai’s red-light districts are going hungry. Through our partnership with The Aruna Project – an organization working to ensure freedom, employment, and empowerment for sexually enslaved women – we are raising $4,000 for food relief for women who are forced to remain in the brothels in India.
Aruna has come to understand that because there have been fewer customers, these women have experienced a small – but welcome – reprieve from being forced to serve customers. However, the pimps are not generous with the money that is in hand, so many of the women do not have enough to eat. To date, Aruna has been able to provide several weeks’ worth of food to nearly 500 women in the brothels. With the stay-at-home order extended in India, more food is needed. We want to be able to provide another round of food to these women, so they don’t go hungry while under lockdown.
WHY this matters to me …
I love, trust, and greatly respect April and Ryan Berg, co-founders of The Aruna Project. They have been to our home … we’ve shared wonderful meals and conversations … we have surfed together … in it all, we’ve shared life. What they are committed to do with great love and tenacity is making a mighty difference in the lives of our sisters in India who have been trafficked, are enslaved, and – without Aruna – would be bereft of freedom and a future of hope.
FINANCIAL details …
- Funds can be donated from anywhere in the world with a credit card via facebook or GoFundMe by US donors and others ‘round the world (depending on where you live). Donations are 100% tax-deductible for US donors. (Both platforms are connected and tied to the same goal.) Let us know if you have trouble donating. We’re here to help.
- Want to write a check? Kindly mail a check to: Seeds of Exchange, 4326 Montview Blvd., Denver, CO – 80207, and make your check payable to “The Aruna Project”.
- We currently have a $1,000 matching donor. Email us if you’d like to donate $1,000 so that we have a $2,000 match; thus, each donation will be doubled! Want to give a larger donation as a matching donor or hear about some of the larger funding needs of this visionary and difference-making organization? Especially given the Coronavirus pandemic, the needs are greater than ever for the Aruna community. With all our hearts, we thank you and cannot wait to hear from you! Please contact Sarah.
- If there are funds remaining after food distribution has been completed, it will be used for Aruna’s ongoing support of women in the brothels, including funding day-away outings, holiday programs, and daily lunch and tea for those entering the training center for skill and trade development.
ARUNA’S mission …
Aruna’s mission is squarely focused on ensuring lifelong freedom through sustainable employment for sexually enslaved women. They are committed to providing quality products that are handmade in an environment marked by holistic care. By combining the best of non-profit and for-profit, they envision a day when every young woman is free to choose her own adventure. Learn more about Aruna’s mission and mighty vision. (Pretty incredible, to be sure!)
We simply could not walk away from the young women suffering under the injustice of sexual exploitation. So, we launched Aruna to create lifelong freedom. Not just so they are free, but so they are free and provided the opportunity to flourish. We are a brand that produces exceptional functional luxury Athleisure accessories, but the story woven into each product makes them invaluable. You’ll love knowing that you are a part of the women’s freedom stories. -Ryan & April
MEET the Aruna Artisans …
We are excited to introduce you to the Aruna Artisans. Women are being freed. Children are no longer at such high risk. Dignity is being restored. Artisans are finding their voice, establishing healthy relationships, and going back into the red-light area to bring freedom to others.
I feel so valued. I feel so loved. I am excited about my future. -Nazma
I have so much confidence, nothing can stop me now. -Shareefa
Such powerFULL statements for anyone to make – but even more so, as Nasma and Shareefa have experienced more injustice, trauma, and terror than most can even imagine. Learn more about their stories – and of their Aruna sisters – here.
ABOUT Human Trafficking …
Experts estimate that millions of people, predominantly women and children, are victims of sex trafficking in India, alone. With trafficking for sexual exploitation purposes constantly increasing… sex traffickers usually target the poorest communities. About 70% of India’s victims of trafficking are among the most deprived socio-economic groups in the country.
Due to the poverty and lack of economic opportunity, some counter-trafficking agencies report that in areas as high as 8 out of 10 young women freed from sex trafficking find themselves back in the brothel system. From survivor informed discussions, Aruna is designed to catalyze freedom by their empowerment through employment model.
CREATIVE ways to support this project …
- SHOP for her freedom – buying functional luxury bags and accessories
- DONATE for her freedom – giving any amount helps bring and sustain freedom
- SHARE for her freedom – by following and inviting others to follow on social media helps to amplify the voices of the Artisans Facebook & Insta
- RUN for her freedom – participate in or host an Aruna Run and help bring freedom
WATCH these 3 videos & learn more …
In the below replay of my conversation Ryan and April Berg, co-founders of The Aruna Project, get ready to LEARN about human trafficking and what is the current impact of the Corona pandemic in the Aruna community in India, be INSPIRED by what can be done, together, to make a tangible difference, and find a bit of your own story in April and Ryan’s.