Learn about the locally-based non-profit that’s freeing and empowering women in South Asia through their athleisure lifestyle brand.
Aruna is an athleisure lifestyle brand creating functional luxury accessories for their customers and for their mission in empowering women and supporting them in their access to freedom, rights, and opportunity. Their focus is to create lifelong freedom for the sexually enslaved who they free, empower, and employ in South Asia. Aruna, the US non-profit, has developed a plan that addresses the issues these women face on a daily basis and creates a solution to free and employ to build opportunities.
“We have two goals for two groups of people,” says April Berg, Co-Founder of the Aruna Project. “Our goal for our customers is to offer them a sense of confidence both in how they look with functional luxury products made with eco-friendly fabrics and trims and also in how they feel, knowing that they are now linked to the freedom story of the Artisans who handcrafted their Aruna products. Our goal for the Artisans is to create lifelong freedom through empowerment and employment in a community of wholistic care creating a sisterhood of those who have overcome. We envision a day where each young woman is free to choose her own adventure.”
Aruna raises awareness and funds their mission of long term freedom through volunteers across the U.S and using income earned from the selling of their products and applying that to aid the women in South Asia.
“We combine the best of non-profit and for profit to create lifelong freedom. Through volunteer led Aruna Runs across the US, we mobilize thousands to raise awareness and funds to accelerate the freedom process,” says Berg. “Through our Freedom Business in South Asia, we create functional luxury products that generate earned income to ensure Artisans earn a living wage, retirement savings, health care, and ongoing counseling.”
The Aruna projects focuses on a model that allows them to reach as many women as they can and create a path for their success and guidance. Not only do they focus on generating a living wage for them, but they also give them valuable training and skills to help further them in their quest for lifelong freedom.
“Through our US non-profit we mobilize thousands across the US to Run for Her Freedom in Aruna Runs,” Berg explains. In running for a specific exploited woman by name, each Aruna Run participant raises awareness of her need and raises money to help bring and sustain her freedom.”
“Those funds are primarily utilized in our Training Center, in the heart of the brothel system in South Asia, to help free the women through daily visits in the brothels, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and financially incentivized Skill and Trade Development to accelerate the freedom process.”
“Through our Indian Private Limited Company (for profit business owned by the US non-profit) we employ those set free from the brothel system through our Training Center and bring them into an environment marked by holistic care,”says Berg. “Each Artisans earns a living wage, health care, retirement and on-going counseling. In purchasing from Aruna each customer receives an exceptional product and joins in the freedom story of the very Artisan who handcrafted it.”
Aruna creates and sells functional luxury accessories. “From the Kushi Duffel to the Sonu Backpack to the Bharti Backpack Tote, each product is designed for everyday all-day use. From the gym to the office to afterwork drinks, Aruna products have you covered. Each made with Blue Sign certified fabric and strength tested trims, our accessories provide confidence in how you look and the good you’ve done. We also have a collection of Headbands to keep those flyaways out of the way. With our super soft recycled polyester Reshma Headbands and a variety of color options, these no stick headbands will have you coming back for more. Next up? We’re exploring apparel options, but you’ll have to wait to see!”
The inspiration behind Aruna is, “We believe every woman and girl should be free to choose her own adventure.”