A Recent Rescue

June, 2018


Shanti…

At nine years old, Shanti was orphaned.  Her grandmother and uncle sold her to their village temple where she was dedicated to a goddess, and became a devadasi, serving in the temple for five years.  From there she was taken to Mumbai and sold into the red light district.  At 14 years old, Shanti had no idea this was not normal.  Forced into prostitution, she worked for 10 years in the red light district before she left for her hometown where she was married.  Her husband did not earn enough money, so Shanti was forced to return to the red light district to earn money for survival.  After a while, she stopped earning enough money, so the brothel manager slit her hand with a knife.  For three days, she had no food and was sick.  She was finally able to leave to get help for her injury.  It was then that she met up with our team for her rescue. At 29 years old, Shanti is just learning to read and write.  She is very new to our safe home, but is engaged in learning life skills and observing the opportunities before her. She is healing and happy now, enjoying true freedom for the first time in her life.


Summer Camp

Some of our beneficiaries and staff in India attended an Adventure Camp this month. It was a week-long camp filled with activities. The camp was in a beautiful setting surrounded by mountains. Our girls had an amazing time filled with many opportunities to explore healing.  They enjoyed arts and crafts, dancing and singing, outdoor games and activities (including zip-lining), water sports, team building activities, visited farm animals and just enjoyed the things we associate with a healthy childhood that each of these girls were robbed of experiencing at an early age. Your support of YouCanFreeUs Foundation helps provide these outings that foster healing.  See the pictures below.

                     


It is only through the generous giving of our donors and faithful  support of monthly partners that we are able to rescue and provide for girls like Shanti, and the healing opportunities like Adventure Camp for the beneficiaries we serve at YouCanFreeUs.  Thank you for giving so others might be free.

Child Labor

May, 2018


 

    


Recently our YouCanFreeUs team went on a mission to identify forms of child labor happening in India. We reached the city of Moradabad known as the handicrafts capital of India. Our worst fears were true as we saw children working in some of the most dangerous of environments. The statistics used above are from the United Nations and they cast a gloomy  picture of our world. If we are to combat this evil of child labor and forced labor, we must hold corporations accountable to checking their supply chains to ensure it is slavery free. As consumers, we have a responsibility to buy products from corporations that do not employ children and those that provide good working conditions to their employees.


    


Some updates from our work in Mumbai, India…

YouCanFreeUs India celebrated Mother’s Day not just by honoring our beneficiaries who are mothers, but also by celebrating the life of one of our young girls, named Noor, through a baby shower. We honored her by having a feast at one of our safe houses in Mumbai, where everyone dressed up and celebrated this young mother and the precious baby she is carrying.  We danced and sang, and honored her for the decision she has taken of raising her baby free from slavery and abuse.


Life Skills and TherapyYouCanFreeUs envisions that every woman who walks into its care would be equipped to live a life of freedom, independence, and self-reliance. In the last few weeks, we focused on enhancing self-esteem by developing skills of artisanship. Our women have been working meticulously to design and craft beautiful handmade earrings to sell in a luxury boutique in the UK. 

 

 

Michelle McGowan Klein, one of our YouCanFreeUs Ambassadors in the UK, is modeling a pair of earrings crafted by one of our beneficiaries.

 

 

 


To All of Our Donors – Thank You For Your Generosity!

 

A New Life for Ashna and Pooja

April, 2018 


Trafficked by her own mother… 

Ashna is now nineteen, but was only ten when she was trafficked by her mother and her aunt. Tragically, they repeatedly sold and traded Ashna across India. Growing up, she endured not only sexual violence in endless brothels, but she was also physically tortured in the name of witchcraft. This pattern resulted in multiple pregnancies, and she was coerced to abort each time. Over the years, however, she gave birth but gave the baby up. Ashna also tried working as domestic help as an alternative to being a sex-worker, but her employer started to sexually abuse her. She was lured back in the red-light district, but at the age of sixteen, was rescued by the police and sent to a government shelter home.  At YouCanFreeUs Ashna has experienced love, care, and support for the first time.  She has an insatiable hunger for knowledge, and is working hard with all of her lessons in our training center. Ashna’s greatest desire is for an education.  Through the generous support of our partners, YouCanFreeUs is making her educational dreams a reality.


Pooja’s new dream is to be an accountant…

Pooja never had a family of her own. She did not know who her parents were, or if she even had any siblings. At the age of thirteen, she was trafficked from Kolkata, India by someone she trusted like a sister.  She was brought to Mumbai and traded in a red-light district to the same brothel where her trafficker also worked as a commercial sex-worker. Pooja was used and abused in brothels for over six years before being rescued by the Mumbai police. Growing up as an orphan, Pooja never had a sense of her own identity. However, she is loved, accepted and cherished by her new YouCanFreeUs family. In our safe house, her physiological needs are met, and she also has a sense of belonging.  Pooja is very sharp and dreams of becoming an accountant one day. We are working to help her know her identity and accomplish her dreams and desires.



Meet Paula Avarado

We are excited to announce that we have started the process of setting up a base in Sweden. Paula Alvarado is heading up our initiative as the director of YouCanFreeUs Sweden.  With over 20 years of experience working with high profile organizations, Paula has an extensive knowledge of human rights, and humanitarian, environmental and public health fields, as well as a deep understanding of working in multicultural environments with a strong focus on achieving sustainable change. We are grateful to have Paula join our team.


Our work is growing!

We now have 35 beneficiaries in our safe houses in India and are planning on starting a third safe house in Mumbai, India shortly.

Would you join us in this fight by becoming a monthly donor? We are so thankful for all of our donors. This work would not be possible without your financial support.

You can set up your donations online www.youcanfree.us or call our office at (940) 725-3200


A Conversation on Modern Slavery with YouCanFreeUs

We would like to meet with our friends in the Dallas and Atlanta areas in the month of May.  We will host A Conversation on Modern Slavery with YouCanFreeUs in Atlanta at the Buckhead Club for lunch on May 10th, and dinner in Dallas at the Las Colinas Country Club on May 15th.  If you would like to join us for either event, please contact Amber Halford in our Dallas office at amber@youcanfree.us or call 940-725-3200 by May 4th.

Meet Rohini and Minu

March, 2018 


For Women’s Day this year, we want to introduce you to two of the newest young women we have rescued, one as recent as this past week.  These women will be counseled, cared for, and educated to reach their highest potential, and greatest dreams in life.  Meet Rohini and Minu…


Betrayed by every single person she came in contact with, Rohini was sexually abused by her own brother starting at the age of six. She was sold multiple times by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend to various brothels across India. Finally, at the age of 16, the police rescued her from the red light district. She is safe now at YouCanFreeUs India and hopeful about her future. Referring to one of our staff members, she recently exclaimed, “I have found a true mother that I never had, here at YouCanFreeUs.” Our beautiful Rohini will be completing her formal school education, where she dreams of becoming an engineer one day.


Sexual abuse by her uncle was such a common occurrence in Minu’s young childhood that she didn’t realize there was life outside of this aberrant way of existing. Orphaned at a very young age, she was sold by a family friend to a brothel in the red light district.  After four years, she was rescued by the police and placed in a government home, where she suffered from a severe skin disease for a year. She was given empty promises of a treatment plan by various other organizations who visited her. But YouCanFreeUs stepped in and helped provide the treatment she needed. Today Minu is a free woman – delivered from sex slavery and physical disease, and is living with us in our safe house. YouCanFreeUs has reunited Minu with her 11-year-old son, who was separated from her six years ago. Minu and her son will have a new life of freedom she couldn’t have imagined.


As a partner and friend of YouCanFreeUs, you helped make Rohini and Minu’s rescue possible.  Thank you for investing in the lives of these precious girls and their families.


Below are the pictures  some of the most incredible women in the world. They make up the YouCanFreeUs team that is fighting modern slavery. They are our staff and board members in India, Poland, USA, Canada and UK.  We honor them today. Without them there would be no YouCanFreeUs.


Honor the women in your life for International Women’s Day this year by making a donation to to YouCanFreeUs Foundation. 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

February, 2018 


Did you know that on this Valentine’s Day in the United States alone, consumers will be spending $19.6 billion on gifts, cards, flowers and other indulgences?

When you support YouCanFreeUs, you are allowing us to love on women and children who have been through some of the most horrible of life’s situations.

At our Mumbai safe houses we are expecting the birth of another baby. The mother was rescued and we can’t wait for this precious baby to come.  Since our last newsletter to you, we have received three new beneficiaries! Our brave survivors are living in freedom and chasing after their dreams.  Thank you dear supporters of YouCanFreeUs.  If you wish share some love this Valentine’s season to help us further our work, please donate below.


Some of our brave survivors along with staff at a recent camp.

 

 

Merry Christmas!

December, 2017 


We hope all of our friends around the world are having a fantastic day with their loved ones celebrating the reason for this season. We are so grateful for each one of you. Many of you have volunteered at our operations in different parts of the world. Some of you have made the trips and hugged on the necks of our beneficiaries and our staff.

Many of you have donated generously.

Together we have made a difference in making the world a better place. We have brought hope where there was no hope and freedom to those in captivity. YouCanFreeUs has brought freedom to hundreds over the past seven years.

Unfortunately, tonight there are still over 40 million victims in slavery – together we will be their voice.

We have some updates for you from our last blog entry …

Run for Freedom, Walk for Justice – Nov 18, 2017

2017 Run for Freedom, Walk for Justice 5K and Super Hero Fun Run was a great success because of our friends, partners and sponsors of YouCanFree.Us. Thank you to those of you who came out on race day, and who gave financially for this event.

Two new rescues have taken place in the last seven days.

These are incredible survivors. Though they have been through a horrible past, their future is bright.

The story of Reema’s wedding…..

Reema was orphaned by the age of four and raised by extended family. Sadly, her story is similar to many in our safe houses, in that she was sold by a family member into slavery as a young teenager. Reema was eventually rescued after a police raid and brought to YouCanFree.Us. That was a day of deliverance for this broken, abused, and traumatized young girl.

At YouCanFree.Us, Reema received the love and care she had always longed for, but was always skeptical about. Over time, Reema began expressing a longing desire she has always had to have a family of her own. She dreamed of a wedding, her prince charming, and of being a mother. Since this was the desire of her heart, it became the desire of YouCanFree.Us for Reema’s life.

At the beginning of 2017, YouCanFree.Us India, came across a bachelor who was also orphaned at a very young age. He seemed like the absolute perfect match for Reema. Reema and Ravi began supervised meetings to get to know one another and soon realized they were meant to be together…

YouCanFree.Us India worked hard in sending her off through a beautiful wedding planned especially for her on the 7th of December, 2017. When Reema walked into the lawns of her wedding venue, not a single face was devoid of a huge grin, not an eye left dry. Reema was beaming with joy and hope as she walked down the aisle ready to start the joyous chapter in her life.

The journey of Reema’s life, her hardships, her lessons, and her restoration are instances that cannot be quantified; words do not give justice to these milestones in her life. At the end of it all, Reema was a gorgeous, beaming bride on her special day. She is a tangible, glorious success life story of redemption and restoration for YouCanFreeUs.


On behalf of our board, staff and volunteers from USA, Canada, United Kingdom, India and Poland and especially from our 28 beneficiaries in our safe houses in India and 4 in our safe house in Poland.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

 

Meet Sunflower…

November, 2017 


 

Sunflower is one of the girls we rescued who is currently being cared for in our safe house. Her name in the story has been changed to the name of the flower she chose for her portrait. Below is her story in an abbreviated form. Her story is dark but her future is bright.

Sunflower spent her childhood in a small village in Nepal. Her family was very poor and as a young girl, she wanted desperately to help them to make money somehow. A neighbor tricked her and her family by promising a good job in Mumbai and a chance to go to school as well. But at the age of 11, Sunflower was trafficked and sold into a brothel in Mumbai. She was placed in a dark room and forced to see many men every night. She does not remember seeing the light of the sunrise for several years.  One night, she was able to escape and ran immediately to a policeman she saw on the street and told him of her horror. Sadly, he moved her to another red-light area and sold her for even more money. She became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl, but she had no idea how to care for herself or the baby. She and her daughter were rescued one day and brought to a YouCanFreeUs safe house, but Sunflower arrived severely depressed and traumatized and was unable to speak to anyone. Through the caring team of YouCanFreeUs, Sunflower has been completely transformed. She has overcome many fears through regular psychosocial support and counseling and has learned to love and care for her baby. Sunflower has blossomed in the safe house where she feels loved and cared for by the staff.  She is interested in cooking and gardening. She is also learning basic reading and writing in the training center, and is on a journey to wholeness and peace. Sunflower has also gained the confidence to learn tailoring, which she wants to pursue as a career path.


Thank you for supporting girls like Sunflower. Over 40 million people are still in slavery. They are counting on all of us.  You can donate here http://www.youcanfree.us/donate