We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
Anything new is always exciting and it leads us to paths undiscovered. Today, we too have something new and exciting to share with you all. You’ve seen the sneak peeks, but this is the official announcement! Yes – we’ve rebranded!
The name ‘ My Choices ‘ has been our identity for over 3 years now, and we LOVE this name too much to let go of it. Therefore, ‘My Choices’ has become our mother brand of two distinct operations and become the My Choices Foundation. We have a new look to our visual identity and have honed in on what the true ethos of My Choices is. You might be wondering why we need a mother brand?
We have been thinking about the organisational efficiencies of two separate NGOs, My Choices working in the area of ‘Anti Domestic Violence’ and Red Alert working in the area of ‘Anti Human Trafficking’ for some time now. While the two NGOs always had a significant amount of overlap of teams, resources, and messaging, they have up until now been marketed to supporters, partners and clients as distinct entities. The close association and common objectives become increasingly difficult to communicate to our key stake holders. Connecting the two took far too much elaborating. So why not let our branding speak for itself – that’s the point isn’t it?
Today, we want to re-introduce you to the two NGOs you have been following and supporting, not as two NGOs, but as one Foundation with two distinct but complimentary set of Operations.
The My Choices Foundation started as a response to an issue that is so prevalent that it affects every household in India in some form. Violence against women and girls. While not every household experiences or witnesses violence within it’s own walls, at least one member of that family is certain to be exposed to it in some form whether first hand or through the experience of another person. Yet at around 60% of Indian homes do face violence at home.
The first response to this violence was to develop a program that would address the type of violence that is perhaps the most intractable, yet sits at the root of every other category of violence against women and girls: Domestic violence. By targeting the household, Operation PeaceMaker aims to access the very home of the mindsets that perpetuate violence and discrimination against women and girls. The home, just like the mindsets they house, is one of the most difficult spaces to access and difficult to affect change from within. PeaceMaking, getting families to work together to end violence against women and girls, is tremendously focussed work, and our efforts have stayed local in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for the last 3+ years. Yet, we have long known of and been stirred by another massive dearth in education allowing families to be fooled and the lives of young girls and women destroyed.
The second response has been to address one of the most harrowing forms of violence: trafficking of young girls for sexual exploitation. Focussed on pre-empting girls and their families from falling off the cliff so to speak into exploitation, Operation Red Alert has worked for over one year on research, ground work, and networking to take shape into three major pillars of action.
Both Operation PeaceMaker and Operation Red Alert have been born from the desire to see families to become the focus of prevention and transformation of the most pervasive and intractable forms of violence against women and girls. Over three years into PeaceMaking and over one year into building Red Alert, there is much impact accomplished and a phenomenal amount more to come. There is no better time for every one of the supporters, friends, partners, and clients of both Operation PeaceMaker and Operation Red Alert to understand the common values and missions of both operations and how our teams work independently as well as together across these.
To help make our story and work clear, we have rebranded our logos and positioned them under a single Foundation, The My Choices Foundation. We believe that while both missions or operations are distinct, their success commonly relies on the choices of educated and empowered men, women, boys, and girls.
Our work is all about giving women and girls choices to live a life free from abuse, violence and exploitation. That has, and will continue to be, our guiding principle, and our new brand will reflect that. It’s a reflection of the journey we’ve been on for the last 3 years.
The My Choices Foundation has been built on the vision of restoring the spice of life into the lives of women, girls and families, and making sure that this spice is never diminished by discrimination, exploitation, or violence. The most powerful spice in the Indian arsenal of vibrant flavors is mirchi (red chili powder), and red is the traditional color of many Indian festivals and celebrations. The My Choices Foundation logo is a heaping, circle of red powder. It is vibrant, it is Indian, it is bold, it is versatile, and it is a beacon of a life lived with zest and fullness.
The DNA of Operation PeaceMaker, once called “My Choices”, is bravery, compassion, and truthfulness. The turmeric yellow embodies the ideals of health and happiness that we hope can be the trophies of transformation in the lives of our clients. The heart is symbolic of both the goal of internal transformation in the lives of our clients and their families, and of our PeaceMakers who, choosing everyday to love a difficult world, are the bravest hearts you can find. The Operation PeaceMaker invites us all to join the story of peace-in-the-making.
Operation Red Alert as the name suggests aims to get people on alert for human trafficking.The red powder in the logo reflects the spice of life. Red colour is energizing, it excites the emotions, inspires urgency, and motivates us to take action. Similarly, the exclamation mark expresses strong emotion, urgency and action. The Red Alert logo aims to affect this kind of response in each person in India. It aims to trigger the emotion within us to take action and STOP this injustice! If we are alert, she will be safe! #BEONREDALERT
The brand new My Choices Foundation website with combined information on the two causes, Operations and respective work and campaign updates will launch END OF THIS YEAR!
This is our FIRST TIME sharing the combined updates of both our operations. Exciting! Isn’t it?!
Operation Red Alert
There are a lot of exciting projects that we have been working on for the last couple months and we are thrilled to share some of these updates.
GRASSROOTS AWARENESS TRAININGS
This week, we finished our first two trainings on our ‘2 Day Village Rollout and Grassroots Education’ in Hyderabad and Vijaywada. We had over 80 people be a part of this training from 15+ different districts and cities of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The training was extremely productive and concluded on a fruitful note with ‘The Red Alert Heroes’ (Area Coordinators) leaving with a strategy in place for the next 6 months of village level outreach.
By October 10th, we will be done with three additional trainings Kolkatta & Siliguri (West Bengal) with each training having the representation of over 40 people. With the combined teams over 3 states, we will see 160 Area Coordinators complete 240 village rollouts in the next four months! These 2 day village rollouts will be based on a Toolkit of training resources developed particularly to educate local stakeholders on the realities of and protections from human trafficking. The training is particularly focussed on reaching 4 target groups – fathers, mothers, young girls and young men – with prevention education on trafficking of young girls for sexual exploitation.
Our team has spent hours in the field and with other NGO’s working in the field to identify the at-risk villages that we will reach out to first.
ANTI HUMAN TRAFFICKING KIT:
Another exciting news is our ‘Anti-trafficking Toolkit ‘. Based on extensive research (conducted in partnership with the Behavioural Architects of Final Mile), we have worked on separate messaging for fathers, mothers, young boys and young girls and have designed these in the form of simple but compelling flyers. Apart from that, we have developed separate characters/heroes for these four groups and released our first comic strip with a straightforward message on anti trafficking. We hope that these strong visual tools can help us communicate with nearly equal effectiveness to illiterate parents.
We will be giving you the opportunity to help reverse-fund this comic book as well as its future editions. Look out for the update coming soon!
With 4 fully fledged Counseling Centres in operation, one more opening later this year in Secunderabad and a partnership program developing in Bhopal, there is almost too much to update you on! We are, however, thrilled to announce the launch of a brand new platform connecting women who need help with the best, most relevant care possible.
Zariya is a new way for any woman with access to the Internet to say NO to Violence Against Women.
Zariya, launched on Gandhi Jayanti (October 2nd), is collaborating with Hyderabad-based My Choices Foundation to allow women who have faced violence to report and connect with counseling and legal assistance in a safe and time-sensitive way. Violence is the leading cause of death among women aged 16-44 (UN Women, Strategic Goals). In India, 30% of women tell someone that they have experienced sexual violence but only 1 in 100 women report due to fear, stigma and the danger of identity disclosure (Amnesty International, Ready to Report). Some women have been shot en route to the court (NDTV, 2014 Mathura Case). They often do not have the mobility to file reports or seek justice and help. Zariya’s free service embodies the values of anonymity, easy access, well-being and security for survivors of violence against women.