The Foundation of Healing, Learning & Thriving!
Dave, even if we call out across the room to get her attention she just shuts down. We lose her for the rest of the lesson”. (Sothea Chan, Bloom Cambodia Director, discussing a trauma response of a Bloom student)
If we don’t help survivors’ brains and bodies feel safe, we fail. Without a calm nervous system, learning ceases, processing trauma ceases, even responding to the simplest of tasks ceases. The brilliant services we provide, like counselling, training, education and employment, all fall to the wayside if girls do not first feel safe.
Unfortunately, removing a girl from slavery doesn’t create a sense of safety by itself. Her body and mind still live with the ongoing trauma from her abuse. And oftentimes, she still faces the exact same circumstances that led to her being trafficked in the first place.
Just recently, a survivor at Bloom came to tell us with tears in her eyes that she had to finish immediately. When we asked her why she said her mother (who'd trafficked her initially) was being threatened by a loan shark and that she needed to go and be sold again to settle the debt. She was so desperate to stay, but was already living on the edge of her own salary and couldn't help repay the loan. She felt she had no other choice but to go.
With so many threats to her personal safety, it is no surprise that she was struggling to move forward with her life.
We don’t always give it a second thought, but each of us live within layers of safety:
- Is my personal wellbeing safe?
- Is my family safe? (could I fall back on them for help if I needed?)
- Is my community safe? Do I have a social support system?
- Do I have a secure income?
- Here’s a BIG one…did you have a safe & loving childhood that taught your brain how to FEEL safe? (click here for an introduction to this important topic)
Creating layers of safety is key to resilience. For most of us, we can genuinely answer, “yes, we are safe”, even in the midst of a global pandemic!
For the girls at Bloom, they are still building their safety net.
Safety is the reason why we start every morning with singing and games. The reason why all our staff are trained in trauma-informed practices. The reason that we go the extra mile with each girl to provide individualised holistic support. The reason why we focus so strongly on creating stable employment opportunities.
With your help, survivors find safety.
And when they feel safe…they have the capacity to learn, heal, grow & thrive!
This is what motivates me to do all I can to ensure that more girls can find safety. I appreciate each and every person that shares this mission too. You make it possible!
Dave Saxby (CEO - Bloom Asia)