While the New York weather may suggest otherwise, spring has arrived and we are reminded everywhere of the exhilaration of new beginnings. In this look inside our safe houses, we spoke to three survivors who are cultivating fresh new beginnings of their own. Lara*, Amy*, and Grace* have all discovered a passion that they are turning into a foundation for their futures.
During her time in the safe house, Lara has been using her web development skills to launch two web-based businesses. Grace helped brainstorm the first business, which will sell themed gift baskets the two women create. They’ve handled everything about the website’s design from the photos to the content and will be handcrafting the items and fulfilling the orders too. One safe house volunteer even taught a calligraphy class to help them expand their abilities. Lara is working on another website for selling jewelry and accessories and Grace is working on building her own side business of selling crafts to raise awareness of human trafficking.
After completing our safe house program, Amy has gone on to college where she majors in computer science. She clearly sees the potential professional obstacles ahead of her, but she believes her experience as a survivor will ultimately benefit her. As she explained, being a Latina puts her at a serious disadvantage in the computer science field, which is highly competitive and dominated by white men, but she’s learned how to persist and overcome despite any hurdles placed in front of her and despite her own fear of failure. “As a woman of color, I will bring my commitment, resilience, and grit to keep me going…I don’t have to prove to anyone else that I am enough.”
All of these remarkable women have endured so much and have refused to become defined by their trauma. They’re exploring their interests, discovering how they can use their passions for a financially viable future, and are thus the most extraordinary examples of self-empowerment. We are honored to have them in the LifeWay Network family and can’t wait to see what they do in the future.
* All names have been changed.