Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Senhoa in India

What’s next for Senhoa?

As Head Office and Cambodia are engaging in the recent exciting events, a pilot program is unrolling to evaluate the prospects for Senhoa to extend its services to more young women in a different corner of the world. Welcome to India!

Today is the halfway mark of the pilot program here in Kolkta, India. Similar to the Senhoa program in Cambodia, Senhoa is bringing to India the income generating opportunities and life skills training to the victims of human trafficking and the young women who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. This pilot is conducted in cooperation with the Women’s Interlink Foundation (www.womensinterlinkfoundation.org) and Made by Survivors (www.madebysurvivors.com).

For four hours a day, ten girls are with Senhoa to learn life skills and the arts of jewelry making. Life skills classes are on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These life skills lessons are taught through engaging the girls in activities such as drawing, acting, writing, and playing various team building games. Thus far, we have discussed topics such as: concept of self, communication skills, friendship, teamwork, and relating to others. After each life skills activity, the girls convene as a group to reflect what they have learned from the activity. The group discussion serves as a great channel for the girls to not only share to their peers what they have learned, but it is also a place for them to slowly learn to open up and express their inner feelings—an essential step in overcoming the tragedy of their past.

Tuesday and Thursday are reserved for skill training in jewelry making. Some of the girls have a natural talent and already mastered the wire wrapping skill to create beautiful pairs of earrings. Yet, there are others who are still struggling to make a perfect loop. They are struggling, but they are still trying—determined to learn this new skill.

One particular memorable moment was when a sixteen years old girl said, “I want to be a tree to bear fruits for people to eat.” This was a respond to the question: if you can be anything in this world, what would you want to be and why? It is this kind of simple and innocent thinking that shows the resilience in these girls. They have lived through such traumatic past, yet they still face the world with a smile and are full of hopes and dreams. And it is precisely for this reason that Senhoa, Made by Survivors, and the Women’s Interlink Foundation hope to join hands to bring opportunities for these girls to realize their dreams.

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