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17935 Sky Park Cir
Irvine, CA, 92614
United States

(949) 752-7788

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Blog

The Gratitude Series: India

Lindsey Malcolm

It can be hard to be grateful for growth, especially when it’s filled with challenges, discomfort, and “try-agains”, but when it comes to the progress that’s coming out of the Mumbai, India Sanctuary, it’s almost impossible to be anything other than amazed.

We launched The Academy in the summer of 2016. By recognizing each woman’s potential alongside her current limitations, we provide academic instruction and learning support that not only prepares our girls to reach educational milestones, but also encourages them to think critically, problem solve, and cultivate proactive self- development practices. Half of their workday is spent developing their academic abilities, personal strengths, and professional skills in structured classes; the other half is dedicated to applying their learning in the workplace where they are employed making jewelry. Though we thought we’d see a decrease in production, with focused intention, one-on-one check-ins, and daily goals, here’s what happened:

  • Jewelry production actually doubled
  • 2,106 hours of educational instruction were provided
  • Students’ English reading rose by an average of 5.8 reading levels (U.S. Common Core)
  • Students mastered 71% of grade 4 Hindi (per India’s State Board (NCERT) Standards)
  • 100% in The Academy feel they have what they need in order to study

“I used to think I was very dumb, I didn’t even know simply math. And then I used to get frustrated. But our teacher in The Academy would encourage me and give this look like ‘You can do it!’ It built confidence in myself. And now, I can do multiplication, division, medians and mean. Those subjects were very difficult for me, very difficult, but now I can do those things.”
-a student in The Academy

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It’s hard for us to imagine life without the ability to read, write, or do basic math, but for so many that enter our Sanctuary, that’s reality. We knew we had to address this issue in order to give our girls their best chance at long-term success, so The Academy was born. We are enormously grateful for Pritish, our award-winning teacher with a heart for our mission, for the countless hours that went into the planning and execution to make this dream a reality, and for our volunteers who so joyfully give their time to students as they learn.

Did you know you can volunteer as an online tutor for students in The Academy? Once a week, you can give an hour of your time to help improve a student’s English speaking, reading, and comprehension. You don’t need any teaching experience, so if you’re willing to help, able to commit for 8 weeks, and ready to go through the orientation, email jackie@isanctuary.org.

The Gratitude Series: Uganda

Lindsey Malcolm

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Not too long ago, in Spring 2017, we welcomed our first cohort into the Kampala, Uganda Sanctuary. A culture of support, perseverance, and joy must be established for long-term success and, over the last few weeks and months, we’ve seen proof that these seeds have taken root.

Each week, we receive an update from our Program Coordinator in Kampala and with every email, we are overwhelmed with gratitude. Here are some of the excerpts and reasons we give thanks for what is happening in Uganda:

“I wanted to stop, but, Mary, she believed in me. She kept working until I succeeded.” -a participant who struggled making the Mira Cuff and was encouraged and coached by her fellow participant, Mary, for hours under the mango tree

“During the last storm, the power went out and we were all huddled around two small desks with a couple of flashlights; the participants seemed to feel a lot more comfortable with us in such close quarters. They spent the day asking us all kinds of questions: Does it snow in the U.S.? Have we ever seen a bear? Do bears eat people? What do animals eat when everything is covered in snow? They’ve heard that in Alaska, there are sometimes days without night. Is it true? How do people know when to sleep, when to go to work? It was a pretty fun day!” -Emily, our program coordinator

“When we first started making Olivia earrings, everyone was terrible at them and got really frustrated. I saved everyone's first attempt in a little bag with their names attached. After we'd been making them successfully for several days, I handed the first attempts back and everyone had a good laugh at how bad they were. At the end of the day, we asked what they learned and a few of them drew lessons about how it's important to keep with something, even when it’s difficult.” -Emily, our program coordinator

“I enjoy it when things are easy, and when they're hard. When they're hard, I learn and improve my skills; when they're easy, I feel good about how quickly I finished something.” -a woman rebuilding her life in the Kampala, Uganda Sanctuary

“My birthday was yesterday. Several of the participants surprised me with cards, which was sweet and totally unexpected. After lunch, a bunch of them disappeared. We started to wonder if we were going to have give a lecture about attendance, when suddenly they came in singing Happy Birthday, dancing, and showering my head with flower petals.”
-Emily, our program coordinator

During this season of gratitude, we hope you’ll join us in giving thanks that support, perseverance, and joy are alive and well in the Uganda Sanctuary.

If you’re interested in keeping up with the goings on in the Uganda Sanctuary, email ashleymccully@isanctuary.org and she will add you to our Uganda email list.