The journey is long and no one walks the freedom journey alone. Do you think your freedom journey may be tied up with ours? Will you join us as we seek to sustain the possibilities of long term freedom.
The heart and hope of the Sari Bari community is empowered by the words of Lila Watson, Australian Aboriginal leader,
“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
We invite you consider that your liberation may be bound up with ours, and we can journey together toward sustainable freedom. Think about it. $5 a month changes the story for one woman for today. $35 ensures a week of freedom. $140 creates a month of effective wholistic support for one woman. $16,800 a month changes the story for all of the women of Sari Bari for a month. To journey with the women of Sari Bari for a year, we need to raise $201,600 annually. Your partnership makes her journey possible. It’s a good place to start. Will you journey with us?
There are a lot of building blocks, thousands of pieces to be put in place to create the opportunity for one women to find a lifetime of sustainable freedom from sexual exploitation. Some of the pieces are well known, mental health support, treatment for trauma, a safe place to live, an economic opportunity that will help lay a foundation for a life. What it takes to put all those pieces in place and sustain them is an immense endeavor and it takes a community!
At Sari Bari we have been building and putting those pieces into place for hundreds of women over the years. We did the math it costs about $5 a day per woman that we support on the freedom journey to sustain the infrastructure she needs to have to continue on her journey. And that cost does not count what she herself contributes through her own labors as an artisan producer. When you buy her bag, you support her employment and a critical piece. The many other pieces however, have to be sustained through profits from the goods and some of the pieces are sustained through the sale of goods. But the rest, and it is a big rest, has to be sustained through partnerships, sometimes that’s a grant or an individual gift or lot’s of individual gifts.
Sharing the Journey
When I think of all the strength we need to get through the day, all the resilience needed for the women to pick themselves up and make a new life, I am both inspired and very tired! I have had the privilege to journey with the many of the women of Sari Bari into the crisises of their everyday life. One story that holds me, because the woman herself holds my heart, is Rina.
Rina was one for the first women at Sari Bari. She joined in our second year and became a center piece of joy. She was absolutely hilarious, self-deprecating and sarcastic. She was also sick a lot. Later we came to find out, because of what was the beginnings of the Well-woman check-up at that time, that she was HIV positive. A challenging diagnosis anywhere but certainly she faced additional challenges being in India and in a community that because of a lack of understanding, made her potentially even more isolated. I sat with her in our small office and told her the news, re-assuring her that she didn’t have to be afraid, there was medicine, there was hope.
That was the beginning of an intimate journey in friendship. I held her secret and walked with her, along with several others in our community, through doctor visits and negotiating the very specific places where she could get the treatment she needed. One toward the end of the work day, it was clear that Rina was very sick and needed emergency care. So we moved into action and took her to a private hospital, one whose Christian mission was for the poor. We were promptly turned away when we revealed her diagnosis. And so she came to my house that day, and I bathed her and put her in dry clothes and put her bed, hoping that hydration and the meds we had were enough.
And she never left, not until the end when hospital beds were the norm. She lived with me for almost a year, at first in my tiny space and then in an empty room downstairs. She told me her stories, the really hard ones. And I told her my stories, the hard ones. And she share the burden of my hard days as I shared hers. She liked when I made pasta with mushroom ( a definitively non-Indian dish). She made my occasional clove cigarette at the end of a long day and open secret to all of the ladies at Sari Bari.
She was my journey partner for a long season. A sister and friend. Her journey was especially hard and it took our whole community to walk with her. I was apart of it and there was Beth and so many others. It was almost everyone at Sari Bari and my landlady and so many of you who came alongside us. We need journey partners. We need a whole community and infrastructure and the facilities that support our journey to wholeness.
Reflection shared by Sari Bari Founder Sarah Lance