Women Survivors
Human trafficking is a grave issue that affects millions of women worldwide. It involves the illegal trade of women for various purposes, including forced labor, sexual exploitation and slavery. This crime thrives on the vulnerability of women, often targeting those from marginalized backgrounds or communities. Trafficked women experience unimaginable abuse and violation of their basic human rights. In 2020, India’s government identified 5,156 trafficking victims. In 2022, the figures increased to 6,622, accounting for kidnapping and drugging.

The fight against trafficking requires a multi-faceted approach that includes raising awareness, strengthening laws and law enforcement, providing support to survivors and addressing the root causes of this crime.

Multiple organizations are working to save the victims from the harsh realities of trafficking and provide them with a safe and secure future. One such organization is the Chaiim Foundation, which focuses on helping survivors to reintegrate into society.

About The Chaiim Foundation

Chaiim is a non-governmental organization located in Mumbai, India that aims to improve the lives of women who have survived human trafficking. Founded in 2013, the organization has been supporting victims who have experienced exploitation due to gender, caste and religious differences. Chaiim provides education and training programs to help survivors join leadership roles within its organization.

Women who have been rescued from vulnerable situations such as prostitution and human trafficking receive the opportunity to improve their prospects through education, vocational training, housing, life skills and other means. Chaiim offers weekly life skills classes to monitor survivors’ progress in dealing with mental trauma, while vocational training courses in areas such as sewing and beauty care are tailored to individual interests and the needs of the local job market.

Living circumstances have deprived many girls of educational opportunities. The Chaiim Foundation steps in to change this, providing access to subjects like math, English and computer skills, paving the way for higher education in the future. Presently, the foundation’s life skills and education program benefits 132 women survivors.

The Chaiim Foundation’s Clothing Business

Humanitarian is a sustainable clothing business that the Chaiim Foundation established in July 2013. It aims to directly support women survivors by providing education, health care, vocational training and housing. The venture provides employment opportunities for women who have escaped human trafficking. Customers can submit their designs and inquiries to the team, who will then provide a production plan with cost and time estimates. Once the plan reaches finalization, the manufacturing team begins cutting and sewing the product before packaging it for shipping.

Other Initiatives to Help Women Survivors

The foundation hosts awareness programs, seminars and workshops to promote the work and efforts of volunteers and women survivors. It also facilitates victims’ reintegration into society, helping them start anew with fresh opportunities and goals. Additionally, it is working on a new venture called “Daag,” which aims to create reusable sanitary pads. This project seeks to promote job opportunities and improve the health of women living in rural areas.

Looking Ahead

In India, efforts to combat women’s trafficking focus on investigations. However, rural women continue to encounter difficulties in this area. Thankfully, organizations like the Chaiim Foundation exist to assist survivors by providing essential support in the form of education, health care, legal aid and housing. These resources help to create a brighter future for those affected by this heinous crime.

– Gurjot Kaur
Photo: Flickr

Women Survivors
Recovering from the destruction and horror of war remains an inconceivably difficult task for survivors worldwide. For women especially, getting back on their feet in an already disadvantaged world can seem impossible. Women for Women International is a nonprofit supporting women survivors of war by providing them access to connections, resources and educational programs. Its Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program specifically works to not only aid recovery but also advance women’s place in society in developing countries where many conflicts occur.

Women for Women International

Since its founding in 1993, Women for Women International has helped more than 500,000 women recover from war and reach self-sufficiency. Zainab Salbi was only 23 years old when she founded the organization, eventually distributing more than $100 million in aid during her time as the CEO. Foreign Policy Magazine has since named her one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers.

However, she is not doing her work alone. Women for Women International has representatives working in affected countries across the globe, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Germany, Iraq, the United Kingdom, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Sudan, Rwanda and Nigeria. Each country director distributes funds and facilitates necessary workshops to help survivors support themselves. Much of this work occurs through the nonprofit’s educational program, Stronger Women, Stronger Nations.

Stronger Women, Stronger Nations

Women for Women International is a self-described “learning organization” that goes “beyond charity to innovation.” As such, representatives for Stronger Women, Stronger Nations facilitate courses customized to every country’s specific social and economic profile. Throughout the year-long program, survivors are provided with a monthly stipend of $10, relevant vocational training, financial education and lifelong connections that leave them feeling stronger than ever.

The program begins with placement into a class of 24 fellow female survivors. Each class includes five social empowerment modules (Women’s Solidarity, Value of Women’s Work, Health and Wellness, Gender Equality, Rights and Decision Making and Women Influencing Decisions in their Community). A social empowerment trainer from Women for Women International leads it. The first month focuses on social networking and numeracy training, both in the local language and English. The next two months give the women time to reflect on their war-inflicted trauma as they begin to consider the value of women’s work. By the fourth month of the program, the women are learning to set and pursue financial goals. The fifth month begins a module on health and wellness, educating the women on hygiene, sanitation and local concerns like malaria. After that, they learn vocational skills of their choosing like tailoring and poultry-keeping.

The rest of the program continues this vocational education while additionally sparking discussion on gender equality, domestic abuse, motherhood and societal change. Women also learn business skills like budgeting, bookkeeping and organizational leadership. By the time their Stronger Women, Stronger Nations class concludes, they are fully equipped to start a business, impart change in their community and create more opportunities for their families.

Lasting Impact

This innovative program continues to catch the attention of international corporate partners including Bloomberg PhilanthropiesSlip®, Hyatt Hotels, Charlotte Tilbury and Jimmy Choo. Aside from donating to the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program, several companies have expanded their reach even further. In 2012, Hyatt created jobs for 50 program members in Iraq by having them sew laundry bags for its boutique Andaz Hotels. Cosmetics brand Charlotte Tilbury donated $2 from every sale of its Hot Lips collection in 2016. It later pledged $1 million alongside the release of the Hot Lips 2 collection in 2019. Jimmy Choo has sponsored 50 women from programs in Iraq, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The effects of war remain long after a conflict resolves. Women for Women International believes that women survivors of war experience the most negative impacts, given the compounding societal factors that come with being a woman. Through its Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program, the nonprofit not only helps female survivors recover from the trauma of war but ensures that they become stronger mothers, entrepreneurs and community leaders.

– Rachel Rebecca Smith
Photo: Flickr