a new dawn brings strength

The Aruna Project creates lifelong freedom through employment marked by holistic care to sexually enslaved women. By combining the best of non-profit and for-profit, we envision a day when every young woman is free to choose her own adventure.
Aruna Artisan India
Aruna Artisan India
Aruna Artisan India
Aruna Artisan India
Aruna Artisan India

meet the

Aruna Artisans

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.

We simply could not walk away...

“We simply could not walk away from the young women suffering under the injustice of sexual exploitation. So we launched Aruna to create lifelong freedom. Not just so they are free, but so they are free and provided the opportunity to flourish. We are a brand that produces exceptional functional luxury Athleisure accessories, but the story woven into each product makes them invaluable. You’ll love knowing that you are a part of the women’s freedom stories.”
- Ryan and April Berg, Founders

understanding the factors

Experts estimate that millions of people, predominantly women and children, are victims of sex trafficking in India, alone. With trafficking for sexual exploitation purposes constantly increasing… sex traffickers usually target the poorest communities. About 70% of India’s victims of trafficking are among the most deprived socio-economic groups in the country. Due to the poverty and lack of economic opportunity, some counter-trafficking agencies report that in areas as high as 8 out of 10 young women freed from sex trafficking find themselves back in the brothel system. From survivor informed discussions, Aruna is designed to catalyze freedom by our empowerment through employment model.

Footnotes:
US Department of State (2019). Trafficking in Persons Report.
Foundation Scelles (2019). Sexual Exploitation – New Challenges, New Answers (5th Global Report).

finding a solution

After on the ground research to understand 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 sexually enslaved through employment marked by holistic care.

buy

Aruna Artisans create functional luxury athleisure accessories which build her skills, confidence, and desire to help others. As the business grows, her efforts provide more employment opportunities for others who are yet to be freed.

champion

By donating funds, following and sharing on social media, participating in Aruna events, and a number of other ways, Freedom Champions serve as the catalyst to help bring freedom to the sexually enslaved through our Training Center in the heart of the brothel systems.

employ

With stable employment, Aruna Artisans are earning a living wage, receiving retirement savings, have access to healthcare, all in an environment of holistic care within a sisterhood of others who have overcome.

free

Through the Training Center, young women are provided a hot meal, offered Trauma-Focused counseling, and financially incentivized Skill and Trade development to help them envision a future of freedom and take the steps forward to make it happen.

empower

By being empowered through employment, young women are rediscovering the liberating power of choice. Dignity, self worth, and a bright future are on the rise as they experience strength in freedom.

finding a solution

After on the ground research to understand 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 sexually enslaved through employment marked by holistic care.

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

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 4-5 times the average wage for an unskilled laborer in textile manufacturing.

employee benefits

From each pay cycle, money is put into a Provident Fund that serves as a means for retirement in Artisans' later years. We also provide access to health care for each Artisan whom we employ.

counseling

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

community

Artisans grow and develop personally and professionally in a caring sisterhood of others who have overcome and are now flourishing.

leadership team Amos Tiwade Freedom Business Director

Amos enjoys the fast pace of Mumbai, India and has worked in India and International Business for nearly two decades. He has a graduate degree in English Literature and a Post-Graduate degree in Business Management. As a talented musician, when he’s not in the office, you can find him jamming on the tabla, strumming the guitar or singing in worship concerts.

leadership team Seena Simon Freedom Business Care & Development Director

Seena lives in Mumbai, India and has worked as an aftercare specialist for 15+ years serving those who have endured the trauma of sexual exploitation. Her passion is to restore their lives from brokenness to wholeness. In her free time she enjoys time with her husband and two daughters and heading south to the lush greenery of her childhood in South India.

leadership team Sachin Kamble Training Center Director

Sachin calls the thriving metropolis of Mumbai home. He has worked in the non-profit sector serving the poor, abused, and marginalized for more than 20 years. Outside of work he enjoys music and reading. He also has fun drawing a crowd on the street as a skilled magician with exceptional slight of hand.

leadership team April Berg Co-Founder, Customer Experience Director

Before helping create Aruna, April worked as a nurse in internal medicine in the US and served communities in China and India as well. Her time spent caring for women in the brothels of India has developed within her a deep desire for justice on behalf of the enslaved. The combination of her passion to serve the enslaved and enjoyment of fitness served as a key catalyst in the creation of Aruna and its on-going growth. When she’s not in the office she enjoys fitness, fashion and hosting friends and family in the home.

leadership team Ryan Berg Co-Founder, CEO

Ryan survived a street fight in India, conquered the Great Wall of China, tangoed with the Turkish police, owns a Guinness World Record, taught English to inmates, and competed against NBA All-Stars, all of which are linked by the common thread of serving those in need. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Secondary Education from the University of Toledo where he played on the men’s basketball team and served as a University Ambassador. He is a sought after speaker. He is a Praxis Fellow. When he’s not working, he enjoys wrestling with his boys and watercolor painting with his daughter.

leadership team Tom Rockwood COO

Tom is a Boston native and spent 30 years with Procter & Gamble focused on Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Customer Business Development. He and his wife Susan recently built their dream farmhouse so time away is spent gardening, landscaping, and tending chickens, along with enjoying family/grandchildren and church activities. And yes, he roots for the Partiots, but has the best accent around so his NFL team allegiance is allowed.

leadership team Abby Nurre Senior Designer

Abby hails from the Westside of Cincinnati and has worked in the design industry since graduating from the University of Cincinnati, College of DAAP in 2013. When she's not in the office, you can find her running the streets of Cincy with her husband and rescue dog, Cyndal, or working on her next whimsical watercolor painting. She's a wildlife enthusiast and accepts any opportunity to visit America's National Parks.

leadership team Sarah Prud’homme Aruna Run Event Director

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Sarah has worked in the public relations, race planning, and health promotion industry since graduating from the Ohio State University in 2004. Outside of work, you can find her enjoying a good run in her Northern Kentucky neighborhood or playing at home with her three fun and spunky kids. She is also the proud wife of an active duty U.S. Army Soldier.

leadership team Marie Fielden Accountant

Marie calls Cincinnati home with her husband and two children. She graduated from Miami University in 2008 where she discovered her love from all things numbers. She loves the details and keeping the books straight. When not inputting data or crunching numbers, she enjoys quiet mornings with a coffee and a book after going on a good run.

leadership team Alexis Anton Product Designer

Alexis is born, bred, and eternally loyal to the great city of Cleveland. Fulfilling her two passions of design and running, she moved south and received a degree in Fashion Design while competing as a Track and Field athlete at the University of Cincinnati. Although her collegiate career has ended, you can still spot her running through the streets of Cincy. The rest of her time is typically spent making fresh-pressed juices, completing crosswords from the Wall Street Journal, and spending time as a service human for her blind dog, Simba.