From Investment Banking to Empowering Women: Elca Grobler’s Journey to Founding My Choices Foundation

In 2011, Elca Grobler made a life-altering decision to leave behind a lucrative career in investment banking and move to Hyderabad, India to follow her calling of serving women and girls in need.

Her passion for empowering women and addressing the issues of domestic violence and sex trafficking led her to found My Choices Foundation in 2012. Since then, the organisation has grown to become a leader in tackling these pressing issues in India.

The Work

As per the Global Slavery Index, India is home to 14.2 million of the 35.8 million people subjected to slavery worldwide. This alarming figure highlights the disproportionate impact on women and children in particular. Tragically, India is also a major hub for sex trafficking, with many victims being brought in from other South Asian nations.

My Choices Foundation is an NGO headquartered in Hyderabad, India, with a mission to end violence, exploitation, and abuse against women and girls. The organisation focuses on tackling two major forms of abuse that are prevalent and challenging to address, namely domestic violence and the trafficking of young girls for sexual exploitation. As per the organisation, the work is carried out through two major initiatives:

  • Operation PeaceMaker (OPM), which addresses domestic violence cases in the state of Telangana; and
  • Operation Red Alert (ORA) focuses on preventing sex trafficking in high-risk states.

The organisation plays a major role in preventing the sexual exploitation and domestic violence of women and girls in India. It aims to galvanise a coalition effort coalition effort “to end large-scale sex trafficking through their four-pillar approach and can be read more about in their impact report 2022:

The foundation has impacted over 15,000 families through counseling, affected by domestic violence and equipped over 3.3 million individuals in high-risk areas across ten states to stay safe from sex trafficking.This has significantly impacted the lives of millions of people in India who have been affected by these issues.

Over the last decade, My Choices Foundation has empowered millions of people to make a positive change in their lives across ten states in India – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, and West Bengal – in more than 7,920 locations across the country. It is a testament to Elca’s vision and leadership and the generosity of the donors who have supported the organisation over the last decade.

Elca’s work has not gone unnoticed, and she has been recognised with several awards and accolades. She was awarded the 50 Most Impactful Social Innovators award and the AGSM Alumni Award for Social Impact and Public Policy for her outstanding work in India. Elca’s dedication to the cause has been recognised by the World CSR and World Sustainability Congress, which recognised her as one of the 100 most impactful CSR leaders for three consecutive years.

Need more such organisations

There are many reasons why we need more organisations like My Choices Foundation. Firstly, violence against women and girls is a pervasive problem that affects millions of individuals around the world. In India, the situation is particularly dire, with high rates of domestic violence and sex trafficking. Hence there is a need to raise awareness about these issues, support victims, and advocate for change.

Secondly, many victims of violence and exploitation are often marginalised and face significant barriers to accessing support and resources. This includes women and girls from low-income backgrounds, those from marginalised communities, and those who may not have access to education or healthcare. By addressing these barriers and providing targeted support, organisations can help ensure that more individuals can access the resources and support they need to stay safe and thrive.

Thirdly, such organisations are often at the forefront of driving change and advocating for policy reforms that can have a broader impact on society. By working to raise awareness and advocate for policy change, organisations like My Choices Foundation can help to create a more just and equitable society for all.

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