Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jewelry Design Intern Opportunity with iSanctuary

We all know about the healing properties of beads, and the amazing way that jewelry design can change the world. Organizations like Soul of Somanya and The Andean Collection are just two examples of the way that beads and jewelry can help women and young people around the globe. Purchasing their products and talking to others about the cause is a great way to help, but for great change to occur, more hands are always needed.

If you’ve ever wanted to join in a great cause full tilt and feet first, but weren’t sure how to begin, this may be the perfect opportunity for you! iSanctuary - a non-profit that teaches jewelry making skills to survivors of human trafficking - is looking for talented designers with big hearts to help their outreach efforts in India.

iSanctuary Purchase with Purpose

iSanctuary is looking for: “candidates that are not only talented designers but can create within our branding and for our target market, and are culturally and emotionally sensitive. And last but certainly not least, candidates should be multi-talented because as in most non-profits everyone wears many different hats.”

Bravery, generosity, and determination are just a few key ingredients for the perfect volunteer. Flying across the world to begin such a quest can be a huge leap, and interns must provide for themselves during their 12 month stay - the internship is a volunteer position. I asked the iSanctuary founder, Stephanie Pollaro, to tell us a bit more about the organization, and the work that they do.

Inspirational Beading: How did you first get involved with the issue of human trafficking?

Stephanie: About 9 years ago I picked up a magazine (something I rarely do) and in it was a story of Anuradha Koirala (who later became a CNN Hero in 2010). I was blown away by several things: the amazing work Anuradha was doing and even more overwhelmingly was the eye-opening realization of learning about the existence of human trafficking for the first time. I immediately went to my computer and started doing research to validate the unbelievable facts I had just learned. As the truth began to grow more evident and more dark I knew in an instance I couldn’t go back to living life the same way… Life as I had known it had been flipped upside down and now I had to respond.

It took several years of planning and talking with professionals in the field to develop an NGO that would best meet the needs of the anti-trafficking community and the survivors themselves. In 2007, with the help of my co-founder Wendy Dailey we started International Sanctuary (iSanctuary). Fun fact: Also in 2007 I got to personally meet Anuradha and thank her for opening my eyes.

In our search to see where we were needed in the anti-trafficking community we heard from many social workers and victims’ rights advocates in India and the US. They all shared the same understanding—trafficking survivors need job skills and economic opportunities. In the USA, Health and Human Services (HHS) often run out of funds to assist survivors waiting for their cases to come to trial (TIP 2012). Internationally, the lack of economic opportunities can be detrimental to a survivors reintegration. According to a study conducted by USAID (2007) the lack of economic opportunities and the skills to earn an adequate income places survivors in vulnerable situations that can lead to retrafficking. It was this realization of the great need for economic opportunities both here in the US and abroad that served as the impetus for the formation of iSanctuary and the iSanctuary POST program.

Inspirational Beading: When did jewelry design and beading become a part of your mission?

Stephanie: It was there from the beginning, as it was the only thing that I had in common with many of the girls in the aftercare homes. To fill the days, the girls are given classes in many different handicrafts: candle making, silk flower making, painting, and jewelry making. However, the jewelry they were making was very Indian and mostly just beads strung on thread. When I introduced the girls to western fashion jewelry and wire wrapping they instantly loved it.

Inspirational Beading: For you, what’s the most difficult part of working with these young women and girls?

Stephanie: The most difficult thing is getting these girls to see themselves the way I see them: talented, smart, beautiful and worthy of great things. Many time the damage from the years of trauma wins- they give into the lies they had been forced to believe, and they settle for much less than they deserve.

Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite, or most rewarding part of the cause?

Seeing change!

Once in our workshop in India, I overheard one of the young ladies complaining about how difficult something was and how she didn’t think she could do it. Then all of a sudden I heard one of our other young ladies tell that girl, “ We aren’t weak, we are iSanctuary girls. You can do it!” It still gives me chills.

Inspirational Beading: You’re currently looking for designer/interns to help out. Tell us a little about the position.

Stephanie: iSanctuary is currently seeking an adventurous woman looking to have her life shook up. She must be flexible yet structured, patient yet persistent, and a go-getter. The one year volunteer position IN INDIA is for a multi-talented Jewelry Designer/ Maker that can help us create pieces that fit our brands' strategic and financial objectives.

Inspirational Beading: In addition to using their jewelry making skills, what should hopefuls be ready to face?

Stephanie: India is a land of contradictions. Poverty is everywhere but so is wealth. It is a filthy place but they are trying to fix that. The people are lovely especially the iSanctuary people.

Inspirational Beading: Do you have any advice for women working in relief services in unfamiliar countries?

Stephanie: Take care of yourself…. Make time for exercise and rest. You are no good to anyone else if you are burnt out!

The International Sanctuary Story

If you’d like to learn more about the opportunity of a lifetime, please visit the iSanctuary field interns page. You can also find additional information about the organization, and all of their efforts in India, the Philippines, and the US, as well as human trafficking issues and what you can do to help. iSanctuary also supports local chapters for promoting awareness, and accepts applications for new advocates. If you’re moved by these issues, but aren’t able to work in the field, starting or joining an iSanctuary chapter is a great opportunity to support an important cause.

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  1. Oh my gosh, Mortira! How I wish I could go do this!!!! Maybe some day, I will! Thanks for sharing this story.

  2. What a wonderful story. I would love to have the chance to do this however at this time with a 7 year old and myself having a debilitating disease I find myself only dreaming at this time. I will keep this site and continually follow up as I believe in miracles and may just find myself doing something for this organization one day.
    Theresa Nolan

  3. It is always good to do something for a greater cause. There are lots of people that are being used for a bad purpose. They are just victims of a crime called human trafficking. Those poor people may have experienced post-traumatic stress syndrome. This cause might help be be back on track with their lives.


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