For the past week, our Abolishion office turned into an art workshop, thanks to our dear friend, Dr. Michelle Sanders. Coming all the way from Australia, to pour into our hearts the love for art, to refresh our souls and teach us how to paint, Michelle blessed us beyond words.
The ART AND SOUL program, was more than a relaxing therapy for our human trafficking survivors; it gave them the chance to a different kind of freedom: the freedom to express their feelings, to see life in colors, the freedom to let their souls grow and believe again in their dreams. Michelle taught us that art is not always about pretty things, but also about who we are and what happened to us. She inspired us to show our true colors, without borders or restrictions and paint all the pain, depression, fear or trauma away. The sessions were very entertaining and relaxing at once, and each girl went through a journey of discovering what it feels like to create something for the first time. For some of them, these moments were the catalyst for a new passion, of painting, for some it was the assurance that they matter and that something beautiful can come out of their hands. Painting gave them the power to see glimpses of light in all the darkness they experienced and to feel proud of themselves. They went through a transformation: it was like art washed away from the soul all the misery, brokenness and damage. Through her teachings, Michele managed to open the door for these girls, to a new world, of healing. Seeing them smiling and joyful after each session, was a step forward towards change and restoring their own souls. They learned how to get lost in art and rediscover themselves by creating something beautiful out from the ruins of their lives.
The painting project was a challenging experience for the survivors of human trafficking, because some of the girls have never painted before. But Michelle’s encouraging words and wise advice made the process a whole lot easier, so that each person that participated managed to become a little artist. With a brush in their hands, they beautifully painted the canvas, without even realizing that all that time they actually fed their souls and painted the empty spaces in their hearts. It’s fair to say that we cannot wait for next year, to repeat this refreshing and restoring experience again.