Our Mission

We Free, We Empower, We Employ

The Aruna Project brings and sustains freedom through employment marked by holistic care to sexually exploited women in India.

The Model

As a US non-profit, we mobilize thousands across the US in 5K Runs to raise awareness and money to aid in the freedom process. Our Indian Private Limited Company (a freedom business owned by the Aruna Project) then empowers and employs those set free to provide them a future of lifelong freedom.

The Model

Buy

Bags and other athleisure goods made by a freed woman build her confidence and experience in a skill and give her hope for the future.

Buy

Run

Runs raise awareness and money to help bring and sustain freedom for an exploited woman.

Run

Free

Funds raised bring the choice of freedom to enslaved women through a training center and outreach programs.

Free

Empower

Freedom restores the liberating power of choice and helps each woman reclaim self-worth and build a better future.

Empower

Employ

Employment through our freedom business provides a safe environment for women to gain strength and build a foundation for their future.

Employ

“The first time I stepped into the brothel, the smell of stale urine was so pungent I had to pause. I was there to understand the problem more fully, and as I made my way deeper into the labyrinth of dark hallways, stepping over rats and up and down well worn stairs, I could hear the sound of abuse echoing off the walls and if these walls could talk, as the saying goes, few could stomach the stories. Young girls were sold, abused here, some never leaving here except through death. As I looked into the face of one of the women available for purchase, the need was clear, Aruna was born.”

Ryan Berg, Aruna Founder

Understanding the Factors

The complex issue of sex trafficking in India stems from multiple factors that all work together to contribute to a greater problem.

Violence
Poverty
Limited Education
Corruption
Gender Bias

Violence

A household survey conducted in a major metropolis in South Asia reports that nearly 3 out of 4 women said they do not feel safe in their own surroundings.

United Nations Women & International Center for Research on Women Report, 20 Feb. 2013.

Poverty

Well over a billion people still subsist on less than $2 per day.

Siddharth Kara, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. Columbia University Press, NYC, 2009, pg. 227-228.

Limited Education

Over 550 million illiterate adults in the world are women, outnumbering men almost 3-1. This lack of education is a significant contributor to vulnerability to exploitation and trafficking.

UNESCO, United Nations Literary Decade, www.unesco.org/education/litdecade/.

Corruption

Commenting on two young girls being gang raped, murdered, and hung by ropes on a mango tree, one political leader commented about rape as “sometimes right, sometimes wrong”.

Associated Free Press, Thursday, June 11th, 2014.

Gender Bias

In the a recent study, three out of four men in South Asia agreed with the statement “women provoke men by the way they dress,” and two out of five fully or partially agreed that “women moving around at night deserve to be sexually harassed.”

United Nations Women & International Center for Research on Women, Report, 20 Feb. 2013

Finding a Solution

After on the ground research to understand the root causes, the specific context of the brothel systems in India, and the constraints to sustainable freedom, we developed a model to bring and sustain freedom to the enslaved through employment marked by holistic care. By mobilizing thousands to take part in Aruna Runs across the US, we can bring freedom to the enslaved. By offering employment to those who have stepped into freedom, we can sustain their freedom and restore the liberating power of choice.

Out of Bondage, Into Hope

After women are free, they enter into an environment marked by holistic care where they begin the healing process and begin to live life while building a foundation for their future.

Transitional Housing
Living Wage
Financial Security
Counseling
Health Care

Transitional Housing

Whether with us or one of our partner organizations, we provide safe housing where she can sleep peacefully in a caring community.

Living Wage

Artisans earn an annual salary that exceeds the living wage for our region of the world and is 4-5xs the average wage for an unskilled laborer in textile manufacturing.

Financial Security

From each pay cycle, money is put into a Provident Fund that serves as means for retirement in Artisans’ later years.

Counseling

Each Artisans has the opportunity to work through an individualized care plan to help her on her path toward healing.

Health Care

We provide access to health care for each Artisan that we employ.

Success Stories

We are excited to introduce you to the Aruna Artisans. Women are being freed. Children are no longer at such high risk. Dignity is being restored. Artisans are finding their voice, establishing healthy relationships, and going back into the red light area to bring freedom to others.

Executive Board

  • Ryan Berg

    Founder & CEO, Aruna Project

  • Steve Simpson

    Leadership & Strategy Consultant, retired Procter & Gamble

  • Cory Carlson

    National Sales Manager, Hartco, Inc.; Director of Connections and Certified Coach, Five Capitals

  • Brittany Fellowes

    Non-profit Value Enhancer

  • Jonathan Sams

    Partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP

  • Elizabeth Mangan

    General Counsel, Miller-Valentine Group

  • *J.M. BOHM

    (Not Pictured)

Advisory Board

  • Alyse Delange

    Marketing Strategist, Independent Contractor

  • Jeff Mason

    Director of Customer Technology Innovation at Fern Expositions

  • Noel Rey

    Attorney

  • Jacquelyn Stevens

    HR Manager, Procter & Gamble

Financials

Aruna Project is a 501(c)(3) organization. Our work to bring and sustain freedom to the sexually enslaved would not be possible without the commitment and generous donations of supporters. All gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. We are committed to stewarding these funds to make the greatest impact possible in the areas where we serve on behalf of the women that we serve.