ABOUT 3.2.1 EMPOWER
3.2.1Empower is a BC Society that educates and empowers young female survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in India, while simultaneously raising awareness of the dangers of local trafficking and working with survivors in Canada.
Over a course of a 6 month program, 3.2.1Empower teaches young survivors an internationally recognized physical fitness certification course with the aim of contributing to their own personal physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. After helping these survivors gain employable skills well-suited for India’s $1.7 billion health and wellness industry, 3.2.1Empower funds training apprenticeships – during which survivors work with fellow residents, staff, and other local organizations – as well as facilitates survivors’ move into their transitional home and helps them find work in neighbouring gyms.
Over the past few years, 3.2.1Empower has completed a pilot project with Prerana, a Mumbai-based NGO. Prerana, which aims to end intergenerational prostitution, conducts essential work by providing a safe environment and educational and health-based support for survivors. Since the initiation of the partnership between 3.2.1Empower and Prerana, ten survivors have graduated from the 3.2.1Empower fitness program with a group aerobic certificate. In addition, a designated gym, supplied with strength training equipment, has been established in Prerana’s Naunihal Girls’ Shelter in Mumbai. A graduate of the program will also soon be undertaking employment at a local gym.
3.2.1Empower’s primary focus is on providing employment and learning for the survivors in India; however, 3.2.1Empower founder Ramona Braganza also works closely with Victim Services of Leeds and Grenville in Brockville, Canada, a community-based non-profit organization that assists survivors of human trafficking. By conducting pro bono work with these survivors, 3.2.1Empower continues to increase awareness of human trafficking and support local initiatives such as the development of a new safe house in Brockville.
3.2.1Empower’s Local Work in Brockville, Canada
3.2.1Empower has been especially engaged in the Brockville region by working with Victim Services of Leeds and Grenville (VSLG). “We receive a lot of feedback from survivors that they had found physical fitness training to be extremely helpful as part of their recovery and healing,” says VSLG Executive Director Sonya Jodoin. “Over the past three years, VSLG has partnered with Ramona Braganza to explore this approach further, specifically with human trafficking victims.” Sonya has noted that 3.2.1Empower’s work with survivors has been especially effective, and that VSLG is planning on implementing 3.2.1Empower’s fitness programming into a larger fitness-based initiative beginning in the spring of 2020. Sonya believes that the 3.2.1Empower fitness program has been an “essential” part of the recovery process for survivors because it contributes to physical, psychological, and emotional wellbeing.