Empowering women at risk of domestic violence and trafficking in India
If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably aware that Shakti.ism is a not-for-profit social enterprise that empowers and employs women from marginalised communities in India (and beyond), especially those at risk of being affected by gender-based violence. By partnering with local grassroots NGOs, we can be more impactful and truly support and empower women and girls who are disadvantaged or at risk of being exploited or in dangerous situations.
When I first learnt about My Choices Foundation in early 2019, I knew I wanted to get involved with them somehow. As luck would have it, we’ve recently begun a new collaboration effort between My Choices and Shakti.ism, and I am delighted to partner with such an impactful organisation. My Choices is an awe-inspiring and impactful NGO based in Hyderabad, India. In partnership with the My Choices Foundation we are investing in women’s economic empowerment through beautiful accessories and garment pieces (made from 100% recycled silk saris) created by women living in vulnerable communities and in violent circumstances. Through the sale of these products, the women provide for their families and obtain economic independence and upliftment. This project is known as the PeaceCrafter Program.
My Choices Foundation began in early 2012 as “My Choices”, a Hyderabad-based NGO providing free, grassroots services to victims of domestic violence and their families. The vision of bringing an end to domestic violence by harnessing the power of local women to become agents of change in their own communities was the driving force that led to the birth and subsequent exponential growth of My Choices..
Since then, it has grown not only in its vision to address domestic violence through counselling and legal aid, but also to include the mission to eliminate sex trafficking in India by 2025. Red Alert was founded in early 2014, with the vision to prevent trafficking of young girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation. After an 18 month research, ground-building and training phase, Red Alert launched programs in October 2015.
In October 2015 My Choices and Red Alert, hitherto operating as two separate NGOs, officially became the two operations of My Choices Foundation. The two entities changed logos and names becoming Operation PeaceMaker and Operation Red Alert of My Choices Foundation, but remained doing the same, impactful work.
Since 2012, My Choices Foundation is addressing two of the world’s most prevalent human rights violations through Operation PeaceMaker and Operation Red Alert: ending domestic violence and eradicating child trafficking. A third of women in India have experienced domestic violence, 70% of all slaves globally are women, 90% of these are forced into sexual slavery and a staggering 40% of them are children. Through Operation PeaceMaker, we have reached over 78,400 women with rights-education and have impacted over 8,800 families with counselling and legal assistance. Operation Red Alert has reached 2,209,100 people with anti-trafficking awareness, education, and training in over 4,100 villages across India.
My Choices Foundation is committed to using the most innovative methods to end domestic violence and prevent sex trafficking in India.
The PeaceCrafter Program
As part of My Choices Foundation’s work to empower women living in vulnerable circumstances, they’ve trained a group of women in Hyderabad, India to create beautiful silk products. These women are referred to as PeaceCrafters.
For most of the PeaceCrafters, this is the first formal training they have had and is a chance to create a life for their families that is free from the threat of exploitation and violence . They are given ongoing training to advance their skills in a safe and nurturing work environment.
The PeaceCrafters are able to come together and share all their toughest problems and greatest achievements with each other. They have become a family who help solve each others’ issues and inspire and motivate each other.
The PeaceCrafter Program is a part of My Choices Foundation’s efforts to make the Operation Peacemaker program self-sustainable. We create beautiful, 100% silk apparel from traditional Indian Saris. Each product sale goes directly to pay our PeaceCrafter (seamstress) salaries and support the PeaceMaker Program.
These stories show the variety of cases that My Choices PeaceMakers and Counsellors handle. You will read stories of struggle for freedom, of legal battles, of controlling gender norms, but most of all they are stories about transformation. It is our hope that these stories not only bring awareness and understanding for the Indian woman’s reality, but most of all that they bring inspiration to everyone who reads them. Each person in these stories has chosen to tell their story to the world to send one resounding message: CHANGE IS POSSIBLE!
Ethical + sustainable + crafted for peace.
Made from recycled silk saris, each piece is 100% unique and tells a story. Because no two saris will ever be exactly the same, we are proud to offer our customers something that is truly unique to them. The colours you order are simply a guide for how each product will actually look and have been carefully matched with saris in complimentary colours to create bold and beautiful designs.
Ethical + Sustainable + Crafted for Peace. By purchasing products from the PeaceCrafter Collection, you can empower and protect vulnerable women and children who are at risk of enduring domestic violence and human trafficking.
My Choices Foundation is committed to give women, children and families choices to live lives free from violence, abuse and sexual exploitation.
Please visit mychoicesfoundation.org for more information.