“Optimism through My Eyes”

Article by Daniel Rahmann.

When I returned from Ghana this year, many people were expecting me to come back with harrowing stories about human trafficking, and I have to admit, before I went, I too was preparing myself for the same thing. Human Trafficking, after all, is an incredibly difficult (albeit necessary) subject to broach, which is why I wasn’t surprised that even though my friends and family were quick to offer their support, most weren’t comfortable discussing it at length. Much to the surprise of those who know me, the experience they imagined was not the one I had. If you are reading this and considering working with survivors of human trafficking, you will find that your experience will surprise you too.

The only thing I left Ghana with was excitement, exhilaration and inspiration. Make no mistake – I witnessed plenty unimaginable hardship. However, it is not the stories of abuse that you will be telling, and it is not those stories by which they define themselves. Whether young children or grown adults, being trafficked is only one part of their life experience. What you will be talking about are stories of resilience, eagerness to learn, love, laugh and most importantly, create.

The most interesting thing about survivors, is that it is in spite of their experience that they are curious and inquisitive. It is in spite of their experience that they are able to connect with strangers like me, opening them into their communities, their homes and their hearts. It is in spite of their experience that they can pick up a paintbrush and enthusiastically explore where their creativity might take them.

Many of the survivors we worked with never had the opportunity to be creative. In fact, before this program, almost no one had ever held a paintbrush, taken a dance class or used a camera. To most, the concept of expressing creativity is entirely foreign, but all tackle it with immeasurable ambition, appreciation and most importantly, pride.

This is the story I came back to tell. The optimism with which they approach their futures is astonishing. To anyone reading, a creative workshop might seem so simple, but the way it prompts an alternative channel of expressing oneself is quite complex. Before this trip, I had never properly considered how crucial creativity is to the development of our character. Today, with fresh eyes, I’ve made a lifelong commitment to providing creative opportunities to those who don’t have them.

I hope that you will join me – and the rest of the Beauty For Freedom Team – on this journey!

Thank You again to all of Beauty for Freedom’s Sponsors and Supporters for #ProjectGhana 2019. If you would still like to make a donation, please visit: www.beautyforfreedom.org/donate

We look forward to exhibiting the work of our students soon. Stay tuned @beautyforfreedom

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