Action

Global Seva Challenge 2012: India

The Challenge

The Seva Challenge 2012 was focused on the issue of sex trafficking in India.

The Result

216 fundraisers collectively raised over $1 million and generated awareness about the issue of sex trafficking worldwide. An estimated 3 to 6 million women and children are enslaved for sex worldwide, and the average age is 12 to 14. In India alone, there are estimated to be 2 to 3 million sex trafficking victims.

Trip Participants

Allison Benner, Alyssa Brown, Anne Lenhart, Breanna Tivvis, Breathe Yoga, Breathe Yoga, Candace McKim, Cara Stone, Caroline Gronowski, Christine Geiser, Claudia Whitney, Dahn Gandell, Elyse Leeds Acanda, Gina Pachkowski, Gretchen Wolf, Heather Snyder, Jamie Hanson, Jayne Robertson, Jennifer Chitwood, Jill Gutowski, Joshua Kehler, Julie Strileski, Kelly Love, Kerry Mertlick, Krista Zember, Kristin Adair, Mary Rogan, Meagan Corbett, Megan Campbell, Melinda Besse, Melody Moore, Nadine Wolff, Nicole Dieso, Page Hart, Rachel Allyn, Sruith Asher Colbert, Steffi Jones, Suchithira Subramanian, Tammy Binkley, Tiffany Maloney, Tim Thill, Wendy Helberg, Zoey Stimpson

Partners and Projects

Funds raised during the 2012 Global Seva Challenge supported six organizations in India. Apne Aap’s mission is to increase choices for at-risk girls and women in order to guarantee access to their rights and deter the purchase of sex through policy and social change. Kolkata Sanved was founded in 2004 on the belief that body movement, when used sensitively, could become a powerful tool for rehabilitation and advocacy. Made by Survivors aims to end slavery through economic empowerment and education, giving survivors the tools they need to build safe, independent, and slavery-free lives. Sanlaap has established rescue shelters, which provide education, mental health services, vocational training and economic initiatives, and legal aid, for survivors of trafficking. Clean Himalaya helps preserve the sanctity, beauty, and cleanliness of the Ganges and Himalayas by developing a comprehensive and holistic waste management program that protects people, animals, and the environment, and reduces the impact of global warming. Ramana’s Garden is a grassroots rural development assistance project to help empower women and children living in remote mountain villages in India. 

During the trip, participants engaged in the following activities:

-Learned about leadership and advocacy programs related to human trafficking
-Watched a live performance by dance movement therapy instructors from Kolkata Sanved during a women’s empowerment event in Kolkata
-Helped with construction and painting of a new Made by Survivors jewelry-making center
-Assisted with the construction of painting of a new shelter to house 25 older girls at Sanlaap
-Participated in One Billion Rising rally, a large women’s empowerment movement that began in response to the December 2012 gang rape in Delhi and led to worldwide protests
-Daily yoga and leadership development with Seane and Suzanne

Testimonials

“On this trip we are using yoga to process the trauma and tension out of our bodies to get grounded. Seeing trauma in these girls brings up our own trauma and this is the work. . . to be able to stay present. The next morning during yoga practice, I dedicated my practice to these girls. We prayed and sang our prayers, tears flowed and the energy flowed. OM mani padme hum. May all beings be free from suffering. May the women and children be free. . . NOW.” – Tammy Binkley – Santa Rosa, Beach, FL

Being an observer in this session was unbelievable.  That experience is what can only be called angelic.  The DMT teacher was a gem.  She made these kids feel alive.  She commanded the room and gave them a space to be who they are without judgment.  She was a yoga teacher in her own right.  The way the kids gravitate towards their teacher, the way they light up when they dance, the way they lose themselves in the moment.  This made me hopeful.  This made my heart warm because even though these kids live in what I perceive to be a rough life, there is a light in their darkness and they have something to look forward to when they wake up.  This for me, is exactly why I do what I do.  This is exactly why I raised money and the reason why I feel pulled to be of service.  To touch one soul, to give one child a place to feel safe, to make every soul I come into contact with smile – I will do this until the day I die!” – Breanna Tivvis, Jacksonville Beach, FL

“In the past 10 days we had the fortune of visiting a number of the organizations that we supported through last year’s Global Seva Challenge: Apne App, Sanlaap, Nijolou Shelter Home (WIF), Made By Survivors, AMURT, Kolkata Saanved). I am SO stoked to arrive home with the confidence and trust in these relationships – an attribute that I wished desperately for. I’m so grateful that all my conversation, purging, social media exploitation, and ‘bumper sticker’ language/tone was honest and purposeful. I thank the universe for giving me the space, time and support I needed when I finally acknowledged my long-time desire to step into this foreign place of vulnerability, inquiry and service.” – Zoey Stimpson, North Vancouver, British Columbia

“Coming home has been hard.  In Newark, I drove on the wrong side of the road.  My life here feels cluttered and vain.  I have felt extremely fragile and naked without all the people who held me up through joy and heartbreak.  But, even as the mendhi, the magic markers, and nail polish begin to fade this journey has left its mark on my heart.  I came home stripped of an old layer of defenses.  I brought home a new layer of vulnerability.  I came home feeling like a warrior who has been initiated.  I brought home compassion for the victims and the victimizers.  I came home with less rationalizations and justifications as to why I can’t walk through this next layer of fear and doubt and insecurity.  I came home unable to look away from what my heavy lifting, what my sweat work looks like.  I came home with a renewed willingness to heal, to stand up and speak in the face of fear, to love without reservation.” – Josh Kehler, Kintnersville, PA

®2009 Off The Mat Into The World design: Amir Image development and ui: Carrie Santi