This Is No Ordinary Joy Book

Paperback book by our Founder, Sarah Symons, which tells the story of our organization and the courageous girls who inspire it.

" When I discovered that human trafficking and slavery were destroying the lives of millions of young girls worldwide, I had to take action. My journey has taken me to some of the darkest places on the face of the earth, and brought me into contact with the most depraved elements of humanity, as well as the most courageous and beautiful. 

Along the way, I’ve spent long hours sitting on the dirt floors of shelters and red light districts, I have feared for my life, scattered my wallets, keys and other belongings across South Asia, met heroes in the most unlikely places, re-envisioned my marriage, flirted with despair, and helped thousands of survivors rebuild their lives. 

I’ve learned you don’t have to be a saint or a special person to radically impact the world. You don’t need a lot of money, exceptional skills, or a particular degree. You just need a lot of hope, patience, and a strong stomach for disappointment, mishap, fear, and some truly awkward situations. 


I’ve been supported most powerfully by the survivors themselves, who challenge me every day to match their energy and commitment. The joy that these girls – finally freed from slavery and given love and opportunity – are able to express is transcendent. 

In addition to my story, I share survivors’ stories– girls like Anita, living with AIDS, who works in a modern-day Underground Railroad, or Asha, an eleven-year old who thought a banana was a kind of potato, because she spent her whole life enslaved in a carpet factory.

I write honestly about my struggles and flaws. I’m no Mother Teresa! I live with the conflicting demands of career and motherhood. I worry about the suffering of the world’s children and how to be as effective as possible. I fret about finances for my charity and my family, trying to live simply, despite my love of fine wine, jeans that flatter my butt, and gourmet food. The hope and courage of my survivors keeps me going despite all the struggles and my own human failings, and I hope that readers will be equally inspired by these girls’ refusal to give up, even after surviving the worst that life can bring".


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