November 20, 2017

It can be hard to be grateful for growth, especially when it’s filled with challenges, discomfort, and “try-agains”, but when it comes to the progress that’s coming out of the Mumbai, India Sanctuary, it’s almost impossible to be anything other than amazed.

We launched The Academy in the summer of 2016. By recognizing each woman’s potential alongside her current limitations, we provide academic instruction and learning support that not only prepares our girls to reach educational milestones, but also encourages them to think critically, problem solve, and cultivate proactive self- development practices. Half of their workday is spent developing their academic abilities, personal strengths, and professional skills in structured classes; the other half is dedicated to applying their learning in the workplace where they are employed making jewelry. Though we thought we’d see a decrease in production, with focused intention, one-on-one check-ins, and daily goals, here’s what happened:

  • Jewelry production actually doubled

  • 2,106 hours of educational instruction were provided

  • Students’ English reading rose by an average of 5.8 reading levels (U.S. Common Core)

  • Students mastered 71% of grade 4 Hindi (per India’s State Board (NCERT) Standards)

  • 100% in The Academy feel they have what they need in order to study

“I used to think I was very dumb, I didn’t even know simply math. And then I used to get frustrated. But our teacher in The Academy would encourage me and give this look like ‘You can do it!’ It built confidence in myself. And now, I can do multiplication, division, medians and mean. Those subjects were very difficult for me, very difficult, but now I can do those things.”
-a student in The Academy

It’s hard for us to imagine life without the ability to read, write, or do basic math, but for so many that enter our Sanctuary, that’s reality. We knew we had to address this issue in order to give our girls their best chance at long-term success, so The Academy was born. We are enormously grateful for Pritish, our award-winning teacher with a heart for our mission, for the countless hours that went into the planning and execution to make this dream a reality, and for our volunteers who so joyfully give their time to students as they learn.

Did you know you can volunteer as an online tutor for students in The Academy? Once a week, you can give an hour of your time to help improve a student’s English speaking, reading, and comprehension. You don’t need any teaching experience, so if you’re willing to help, able to commit for 8 weeks, and ready to go through the orientation, email

Lindsey Malcolm