Inspiration can be found in the most unusual places, as Stephanie Pollaro can attest. Her inspiration for creating iSanctuary, after all, stemmed from an article in a fashion magazine. The article, sandwiched between the “Hottest shoes of the season” and “What not to wear on a first date,” would become the catalyst for her future and that of many young victims of human trafficking. The same article featured this year’s CNN Hero, Anuradha Koirala. “Anu,” as Stephanie fondly calls her, was the inspiration for Stephanie’s trip to India and for establishing iSanctuary. It was at an UNGIFT (United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking ) Conference in 2007 that Stephanie had the honor of meeting Anu. “I wanted to tell her that she was the reason I was in India. She was amazingly humble and receptive as we shook hands. Her words of encouragement, along with a kiss on the cheek, were all that it took to keep me going.” Stephanie likened her encounter with Anu to meeting Elvis or Brad Pitt. “To actually meet Anu was the most amazing thing. Not only is her life’s work revolved around giving hope to these young children, but she actually lives this pure and beautiful life. She is truly the most beautiful person I have ever met.”
Michael Beckwith, world leader and founder of Agape International Spiritual Center – whose vision of one human family united on a foundation of peace, said of Anu during this year’s CNN Hero presentation, “She has yielded to her passion, and her life is extraordinarily rich because of it. Rather than looking at how immense the problems are that she’s trying to solve, she simply plods on, one foot in front of the other, with a fierce dedication and unwavering determination.”
Anyone who knows Stephanie knows that she is well on her way to living such a life. She is beautiful inside and out, and her passion and commitment to giving back through iSanctuary are truly inspiring.