For some of us it has been a while since we have connected and I am sure some are curious as to what has been taking up my time over the past five years.
To my loved ones- Thank you for your patience and understanding.
To my friends and colleagues who have stood beside me on this journey- Thank you for your support and encouragement!
Allow me to share some of my journey with you all….
After completing a BA in psychology in 2012 I decided to enroll in a diploma program In Toronto for Expressive Arts (EXA) Therapy. Shortly thereafter I was enrolled in an MA EXA program in Switzerland.
Then I said “good-bye” to the dental field for work as a crisis intervention/community mental health worker in Toronto where I learned a great deal about how to support an individual during difficult times of transition.
My journey at work and school brought me to places such as Costa Rica to work with street youth and community leaders teaching them how to implement EXA programs, the Sojourn House to work with Refugee children, training in therapeutic clowning, the Hincks-Dellcrest Children’s Mental Health Centre for a concurrant children’s and parents social skills development group, Fairview Lodge with seniors, the Refuge with street youth and private practice.
In March of 2015, the crisis program that I worked for lost its funding ultimately leading to the loss of my job. While tying up loose ends with school and completing a thesis about working with trauma using the arts, a small group of individuals including myself came together to research the problem of human trafficking after previewing a movie called, “Nefarious, Merchant of Souls”.
What we came to understand is that enslaving young women for sexual gain is not “just in the movies” or happening “somewhere else”. What utterly shocked me was that it is happening right here under our noses. Did you know that a man is currently on trial in Toronto and proud that he profited $30, 000 a month for sexually exploiting one single female? Did you know that many predators conduct their “business” along the 401 corridor from Hamilton to Durham Region in hotels just off the highway. Did you know that a 14 year old was abducted in 2014 for purposes of trafficking and was able to flee within a few days? The outcomes for people affected by this is horrendous without long-term support.
Four individuals traveled to Vancouver, myself being one of them, where girls who are rescued in Ontario are being sent due to lack of local supports in January 2016. We had researched what was needed in Durham Region to meet the needs of girls rescued from trafficking and did some initial training on-line with this Safehouse before going to meet them in person.
During this time I had become aware of a 6 month internship position available in India for a crisis worker to work directly with girls who had been rescued from being trafficked in a crisis recovery centre. This position is a pilot program that compliments an already existing program and will increase its capacity from 10 to 55 girls.
I am honoured to be joining Smita Singh, a clinical psychologist and her team beginning on March 15th, 2016. I will not only be assisting in this new phase and the writing of a policy and procedures manual, I will also be bringing a wealth of information into our community to compliment what is already being moved.
The internship is unpaid and I will be needing assistance to cover my basic cost-of-living while in Kolkata which is estimated at $6000 for the six months I will be there. I am connected with Partner’s International who are reputable in seeing this through and accepting donations on my behalf. They will issue a tax-deductible receipt for amounts over $20.
For those of you who have already donated to this mission- Thank you! I will be providing a personal update upon my return and regular updates here on this blog.
Below you will find a link to the donation page.
Thank you so much for supporting me on this journey and for seeing a “bigger” purpose in helping others.