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VIDEO | My Choices Foundation CEO & Founder: The Average Age When a Girl Gets Trafficked is 12

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(Asia) Elca Grobler, CEO & Founder, My Choices Foundation, speaks with Savio Rodrigues, VP-Client Membership, Trianz (and Editorial Board Member, CDO Magazine), about the foundation's use of big data technology, its partnership with Quantium and IBM, My Choices’ impact in India, and what drives the leadership to success.

India has 600,000 villages, and most girls get trafficked from villages into the big cities at an average age of 12. It is humanly impossible to go to all of those villages to equip and empower them, states Grobler. Hence, they partnered with Quantium, a data analytics company, and after 18 months of research, they developed a village mapping tool.

The tool defines the villages at optimum risk using a combination of sensor data, explains Grobler. They also used different databases by gaining access to schools, police, and hospitals and built them into a free cloud platform to understand which villages need prioritization.

The foundation operates in 11 Indian states, and they have partnered with over 100 implementing partners to conduct the Safe Village Program. Grobler states that it would be impossible to focus work on villages that needed it most without the data analytics tool that used big data. She also mentions partnering with the traffic analysis hub hosted by IBM's cloud services to understand the global possibilities with what they have built in India.

Next, Grobler shares the impact made by the foundation through certain operations. She highlights that, being an organization, they always involve the perpetrator in counseling sessions. Operation Peacemaker has helped over 12,000 families to work through domestic violence. They have educated 150,000 women and girls across 11 states on domestic violence.

Through Operation Red Alert, they carry out Safe Village Programs by empowering them to be safe and equipping them to identify the risks of trafficking. Grobler states that they have covered 7000 villages, and the numbers keep increasing. She mentions that the foundation's helpline is the first one in India to receive 69,000 calls just for sex trafficking. She further states that the organization will welcome interested people who want to partner with them on the journey.

As a leader, Grobler shares that their work takes a toll on the heart. She maintains that My Choices Foundation has a credo that they share with all employees. Grobler affirms that grit is compulsory for the team, and trust must be absolute. The team members must be able to listen to uncomfortable conversations, and the team feels privileged to save numerous lives by replacing violence with peace.

Grobler confirms that courage is contagious, and some days it takes one team member's courage to lift everyone else. Courage also comes from the people they serve, she adds. In conclusion, Grobler shares a Melinda Gates quote: “Sometimes the only way to uplift a woman is by not pulling her down.”