Q: What’s your mission?
A: The SA Foundation seeks to accomplish its vision by providing a way out for young women (and their children) to escape the sex trade. The Foundation’s highly effective recovery program offers them a viable solution; therefore, planting these programs in conjunction with charitable groups is our top priority. The SA Foundation subscribes to thinking globally and acting locally. Our Canadian and international programs are initiated at the community level and driven by community involvement. The SA Foundation program model is practical and culturally transferable.
The SA vision began in 1989 in Calgary, Alberta, to meet the unique long-term (three to seven years) recovery needs of sexually exploited youth, women and their children. This pilot program soon grew, and over 11 years expanded into: three front-line houses, a day program offering training in abuse and drug/alcohol recovery, and life skills development. We offer pre-employment training, a babysitting service, and transitional and long-term affordable housing. These initiatives not only provide on-the-job shadowing and training to program participants, but also set the tone to envision and plan for long-term financial sustainability. In addition, transitional housing was developed to support the transition between front-line and long-term affordable housing and the babysitting service was made available for the children coming with the young women who entered the program.
Once completely established, this program gained national attention due to its tremendous success with this population. The entire program is structured to provide care and services (with increased independence at each level) for up to seven years, exactly the long-term approach that is needed to heal young women. In 1998, the SA Foundation began to be increasingly approached by individuals in other communities that wished to implement this recovery model in their own cities. In response to this need the Foundation modified its purpose in the year 2000 and started its World Services Division. The SA Foundation’s first project in developing countries was begun in the year 2001 in Kathmandu, Nepal, to not only provide services to youth and women that are sexually exploited (or at risk of becoming so), but to also include a focus on trafficking. Over seven years, this program expanded to include: awareness; education classes; income generation programs such as kitchen gardening, pig/cow/goat keeping and sewing for women in high-risk communities; border monitoring; emergency shelters; short- and long-term housing recovery programs; and a fair trade initiative that produces handmade items by program participants for skill development and income to become self-supporting.
Today, the SA Foundation continues to disseminate its program models, to train and mentor charitable SA franchises and to fund raise to support their development. Visit “Organizations Built on the SA Model” for a list of current program sites.
Q: Who do you serve?
A: Sexually exploited and trafficked women and their children between the ages of 18-29 years old.
Q: What’s your proudest accomplishment?
A: Each time we see one of the women who come through our program succeed. Currently we have a 70-75% success rate in our programs.
Q: What’s your organization’s greatest need?
A: Fund development for projects and ongoing monthly donors.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Open doors for our Budapest project in April 2013.