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Meet Wendy Dailey of PURPOSE Jewelry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wendy Dailey.

Please kick things off for us, would love to hear the story.
When Founder Stephanie Pollaro moved to Mumbai, India to work with girls escaping human trafficking in 2007, she realized they needed economic opportunities to build their lives. She enjoyed jewelry-making and created a social enterprise to empower these girls and young women. Stephanie oversaw all of the operations in Mumbai and I handled the business end of things in the States.

After five years, we realized the model was working in more ways than we could have imagined! Girls were healing from the trauma of human trafficking and meaningfully reintegrating into society; they were financially independent, able to support themselves; they had a community and network of support; they had employable skills that could sustain them outside of the Sanctuary! Many of the girls went on to get married and are now having babies in trusting, loving homes. International Sanctuary thrives on these young women’s leadership within the organization, as bookkeepers, import/export team, jewelry teachers, trainers, and product development specialists.

Here we are 10 years down the road and non-profit organizations are asking us to provide jobs to the girls they are serving, so our expansion plan is underway: 10 Sanctuaries by 2020. We are now operating with four Sanctuaries: Mumbai, India; Kampala, Uganda; Tijuana, Mexico; and Orange County, CA.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When we started International Sanctuary, we had very different skillsets. Stephanie was a college counselor and I was an elementary school teacher! To say there was a lot of “learning on the job” would be an understatement, but I found wonderful mentors who taught me things like Quickbooks, supply chain management, even the ins and outs of finance. It has not been easy, but seeing the life transformations in our girls makes every lesson, experience, and step forward incredibly rewarding.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with PURPOSE Jewelry – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
International Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that empowers girls and young women escaping trafficking to rebuild their lives and we do this through jobs, education, community, and healthcare. Employment is a critical piece for survivors of trafficking because financial stability reduces her risk of vulnerability and re-trafficking. International Sanctuary participants are trained to handcraft fashion-forward jewelry that is sold under the PURPOSE Jewelry social enterprise.

When you Purchase with PURPOSE, the proceeds go to International Sanctuary which funds the a wide range of trauma-informed, holistic services, such as counseling, schooling, leadership and life skills coaching, and health services. Each piece of jewelry comes with a tag that’s signed by the girl who made it, giving our shoppers a personal and powerful connection to the women in the Sanctuary. Likewise, each piece of jewelry sold directly helps girls reach their goal of living in True Freedom where they can speak, act, and think for themselves without hindrance or restraint.

International Sanctuary is unique in that PURPOSE Jewelry, the social enterprise, sustains all of our current operations which allows 100% of every financial gift to go directly toward opening the doors of a new Sanctuary. This model is sustainable and gives International Sanctuary and its expansion partners a direct pathway to serving more women and girls around the world – we can see the impact in timely, robust ways.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
This last spring, we opened our doors in Kampala, Uganda. The feeling of hope in that place is palpable and we cannot wait to recreate it in a new location! International Sanctuary has plans to open two new Sanctuaries per year through 2020 for a total of 10. Those are safe, healing workplace communities that will bring dignity to generations of women.

Our 10 Year Anniversary Benefit this September will be a fantastic celebration of the lives that have been transformed and an opportunity to open our doors in a new location. We hope to raise $150,000, which is the amount needed to launch a new Sanctuary and bring it to sustainability within 24 months.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, we’re also launching a new jewelry line: Premier PURPOSE Collection. 14k gold and Rhodium plated, these necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings are still handcrafted by girls and young women escaping human trafficking and provide real opportunities for them to break the cycle of human trafficking in their lives forever.

Our tagline is Hope-Dignity-Freedom. Bringing these things to those escaping human trafficking is a pretty big (and exciting) plan, if you ask us!

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