Margo Cooper, Miss World Bulgaria 2019, paid a visit to the Rescue foundation center for the sex trafficking victims, located in Mumbai, as a part of her global charity program she launched right after being crowned last September. The purpose of the program is supporting small and middle sized organizations that stand for the vitally important causes all over the globe, not only by donations and buying inventory, but by raising the awareness and educating people on how they can contribute to their local societies, or make a difference while traveling the world with a purpose.
Rescue Foundation was established in the year 2000 by the Late Mr. Balkrishna Acharya and his wife Mrs. Triveni Acharya to free victims from commercial sexual exploitation and to rehabilitate them through the housing program caring about their physical and mental health, education, safety and human rights. “I was devastated to find out that millions of children become victims of human sex trafficking in India, in the circumstances where their living, mental and physical conditions are on the edge of survival”. Most of these girls were either rejected by their families after being rescued, or ended up in slavery because of the family at the first place. But some girls are coming back to their home places after being rehabilitated at the centers to raise awareness against sex trafficking and to become human rights advocates at their communities.
The Rescue foundation, which started as a group of people who took the initiative to save one particular girl from sex slavery and found out a real scale of the issue. Being a home for more than 300 girls now, the foundation consists of 4 centers around India, and many partners globally, 90 workers of which around 30 are part time, with more than 5000 rescued girls and over 15000 rehabilitated in last 20 years. “Mama” Triveni Acharya, how the girls call her, shared the information on how the centers function, the girls here recover, learn to dream big, obtain education and careers, socialize and make friends while developing their talents. Like many other little girls in India, they enjoy singing, dancing, fashion and make up, and they admire everything about Bollywood movies. Some of them already have jobs provided by partners of the center at hospitality, clothes fabrics and other fields. And some of them are making a hand craft jewelry which is possible to buy at the center. Also they are studying and few of them are aiming to work at police and successfully passed the exams.
As a part of the visit, Margo invited her friend, talented artist Ami Patel and her team, to arrange an art jewelry workshop for the girls, making the colorful pendants with them. Some of them turned out to be fantastic designers! The visit included dancing performance telling the story of the abuse, violence, rejection, dealing with trauma, struggle, and finally empowerment and beautiful perspectives. It was followed up with spontaneous little party with Margo – laughing, tea and girls talk. The environment created in the center feels like a family and sisterhood where everyone stands for each other.
Of course, Rescue Foundation centers welcome any help both from individuals and organizations. There are basic needs that are lacking, however, the team makes up for it by creating the wonderful atmosphere of acceptance and love. What is crucially important, it seems, is not only the donation itself what is also extremely needed, but attention, motivation and the personal example of having courage to be happy.
Chances to be rescued from sexual trafficking and slavery are less than winning a lottery, and the girls, having seen the darkest side of life, can’t underestimate the role of the foundation in their lives, basically their chance for the new life and experiencing of childhood they didn’t have before and to get a family where their personalities are respected, and they are provided with health care, education and, most importantly love.