Emily Hanscamp, Founder
The journey for HerSpace began in 2009 when our founder, Emily Hanscamp, visited the Kamathipura red light area in Mumbai, India. Deeply impacted by the exploitation, torture and trauma faced by these women, Emily arrived back in Australia and reached out to see what could be done. Bake sales and car washes helped to raise enough money to send back to the Kamathipura women and in the following years, Asha Global was born.
From 2012 -2014, Asha Global funded a full-time staff coordinator at Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC) in Mumbai. Each day, the centre provided over 300 daughters of trafficked women with nutritious food, medical support, school material and tutoring. The mission of AAWC is to help daughters born into brothels have options for living and choosing a career other than sex work.
After years of working directly with social workers and counsellors in Mumbai, it became clear to the Asha leadership that psychological and emotional barriers were some of the biggest challenges women faced when trying to leave situations of sexual exploitation.
Women and girls in sexual exploitation live in a constant state of stress and fear, and thinking beyond surviving today becomes overwhelming and seemingly impossible. Yet there were few, if any, mental health and psychological services to address their needs. We were further shocked to realise that even in Australia, minimal health services are available to women suffering trauma due to sexual exploitation.
Since 2014, Asha has focused on pioneering the HerSpace mental health program for girls and women in Australia and has become an incorporated organisation (not-for-profit) with a fully functioning Board to provide direction and oversight.
Since its origin, the organisation has been through a number of ‘name phases’, as it has transitioned from Asha Global to HerSpace:
- In 2014-2015, Asha Global became Asha to reflect the transition from having an international focus to a local one.
- The HerSpace name was introduced in 2015.
- In 2016, the organisation was informally referred to as Asha HerSpace, which gradually led to the entire loss of “Asha”.
- In December 2016, the organisation formally changed its name to HerSpace Limited.