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Give joy to victims of abuse, rape and slavery

by Company of Dreams Ltd Vetted since 2017
Give joy to victims of abuse, rape and slavery
Give joy to victims of abuse, rape and slavery
Give joy to victims of abuse, rape and slavery
Give joy to victims of abuse, rape and slavery
Give joy to victims of abuse, rape and slavery
Give joy to victims of abuse, rape and slavery

We're very excited to let you know that, thanks to your generosity, in a few weeks we will be starting an innovative new weekly class for women affected by a variety of traumas. Until now we have always run our classes in very small groups in refuges or hostels, but thanks to the support of several local community groups, our new class will be open to a variety of different organisations providing support to women fleeing war, trafficking, rape and domestic violence.

We're calling these classes 'Dance Yourself Happy' because we've seen how happy women become during our classes, even if it's just for an hour or so each week.

We're particularly excited about bringing several groups together because isolation is one of the major problems for the women we work with. This will be an opportunity for women who have suffered so much to meet each other, dance together, and hopefully make friendships with others who understand what they have been through.

Thank you as always for your ongoing support. It really does mean so much.

This month we started working with a group of women who have been raped or sexually abused (including childhood abuse). These women are seriously traumatised as a result of the crimes against them, and it's very sensitive work. Luckily we're working with a partner organisation called Freedom Together and the director of that organisation gave us specialist coaching on how to work safely with victims of rape and sexual abuse.

It's very important, for example, that we don't touch the women (something that as dance teachers we do naturally). In bellydance we will often take hold of a woman's hips to help us demonstrate a particular move, but as you can imagine, this could be a horrible experience for a woman recovering from having her body violated. Even though we would always ask permission before touching anyone in our dance classes, Louise, who runs Freedom Together, explained that it is very difficult for a woman to say no - particularly as we are in a position of authority when we are teaching.

It's also vital that we don't approach a woman from behind, as this could trigger a terrifying memory for a woman who has been raped. Louise also explained that a woman might suddenly become angry for no reason, and that we shouldn't take it personally. This coaching session really was such an eye opener and helped us understand a little of the perspective of a woman who has been through such a dreadful, traumatic experience.

Freedom Together is running a programme of weekly classes to help these women recover their voices and make peace with their bodies. Singing sessions, yoga sessions and our bellydance is helping women take back ownership and help them express themselves in a safe, supportive environment.

We're so grateful to be part of Freedom Together's programme, and we really hope we can make a positive contribution to the participants' recovery. We are particularly grateful to all of you for helping make our work possible. Thank you.

On this, International Women's Day, we wanted to share a few heartlifting stories from our bellydance classes with women escaping violence, abuse and slavery.

Living in secret safe houses where they have been brought after their escape, the women we teach are isolated, far from home, and dealing with the long term effects of the dreadful abuse they've suffered. They receive counselling and support from the refuge, as well as having a safe home for maybe the first time ever.

Bringing fun and laughter...

But simple fun is far rarer for them to find and spirits can be very depressed; so the joyful, uplifting bellydance classes we bring to the homes are enormously healing. The women find themselves laughing and giggling together as they learn to move, and dancing in a circle together to happy music lifts their spirits enormously

Last week one of the women confided to our teacher that she had changed the day of her regular counselling sessions, so it didn't clash with the bellydance class. She had decided that she was getting more from her bellydance class than the counselling!

... to women who have suffered dreadfully

In another project Zahida, our teacher, has been teaching women who have fled from war and conflict. Many of these are very young women who are heavily pregnant as a result of being raped as part of the war in their homeland. Zahida says that they are usually very depressed when they arrive in the class, but soon they are all laughing together and losing themselves in movements and the music.

...and young women in desperate peril

And in the next few weeks we will be starting to teach a group of women who have escaped from sex traffickers. They were all freed together and now live in a safe house. Like all the projects we work in, these women are still in real danger from being discovered, so our work is undertaken in great secrecy, but they are so excited about starting bellydance classes!

If you would like to make a donation to our work today, you can be sure your hard earned cash is going direct to bringing joy to women who have suffered beyond belief. We particularly need funds to support our new work in the safe house for the women who have escaped from sex traffickers and we would be really grateful for any donation, however small.

Any small amount can help

Regular donations are our life blood - they enable us to plan ahead and know that we can continue our work into the future. So if you are able to make a small regular donation that would be enormously helpful. But all donations, small or large, one-off or regular, will really make a difference.

Please visit our page and make a donation today, to help us help these women who truly deserve a little bit of  joy in their lives

Thank you

In the midst of the rush and busyness of the final preparations for Christmas, we at Company of Dreams just wanted to take a quiet moment to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support this year and what you've helped us achieve.

Your generous donations have enabled us to begin our work bringing joy to women affected by dreadful traumas, and the results have been so inspiring already. We'll be sharing some of the results with you in coming weeks, but first we wanted to let you know where we are now with our programme, thanks to you.

We are so happy to let you know that we are now teaching regular bellydance classes in two safe houses for women escaping from violent partners. All these women are living in in hiding, hundreds of miles from home, family, friends and work, having had to flee for their lives. 

We have taught taster sessions in a hospice - not only for women with cancer, but for carers and bereaved relatives. And we have taught a series of classes in an open prison for women, many of whom have been victims of abuse of some kind, some of whom are in prison for fighting back against their abusers - a fight back that went seriously wrong.

A few weeks ago we began teaching in a hostel for women escaping from war and conflict. Their stories are truly shocking - many have been raped as victims of war, and are now carrying their rapist's child. Some actually gave birth on the road, whilst escaping to freedom. And very soon we will be teaching in at least one safe house for victims of slavery.

Thanks to you, all of these women are now experiencing the simple fun and the togetherness of dancing each week, led by our wonderful team of teachers. You've helped make these women's lives a little more joyful and you've given them something to look forward to each week.

Thank you, and Happy Christmas. From all of us!

Thank you so much! With your help our project is now secured

Thank you so much for supporting Bellydance for Joy - we raised over £6,000 in nineteen days, which is a remarkable achievement and we just couldn't have done it without you.

Thanks to your generosity, by the end of October we will be working in eight different organisations supporting women escaping slavery, domestic violence, war and conflict, as well as in a hospice where we will be teaching women living with terminal cancer. All the women are loving the classes and to see their eyes sparkling as they come into the room, and watch their excitement as they rush to choose a coin belt to dance in, is just wonderful.

Zahida is one of our teachers - she currently teaches in two safe houses for women escaping domestic violence and will soon be teaching bellydance to women escaping war and conflict, many of whom have been raped and experienced truly dreadful things on their journeys to safety. We'll let her tell the story of the classes in her own words in this short video she filmed for us: Click on this link to watch the video


 

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Organization Information

Company of Dreams Ltd

Location: Edenbridge - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @companyofdreams
Project Leader:
Charlotte Desorgher
Edenbridge, United Kingdom
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