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
Give joy to victims of abuse, rape and slavery
Give joy to victims of abuse, rape and slavery

Thank you so much to everyone for your support. Our recent fundraising campaign around International Women's Day raised almost £2,000 which means our new project in south London is now funded for the rest of 2019!

This innovative project brings together women from several different refuges in the area and gives them the joy of dance. Women who have escaped from violent partners, from war and conflict and women rescued from traffickers and the horror of modern day slavery are able to come together for the pure joy of dancing together to music.

We give everyone colourful hipscarves to wear and then teach them simple moves to world music. The women smile, shake their hips and laugh together - what could be more wonderful after what so many of them have been through?

Thank you again for your continued support - we couldn't possibly do it without you

Charlotte

At this festive time of family and togetherness we're really excited to tell you about the success of our new project which brings together women from several different support groups to dance together.

Based in one of the most deprived boroughs of London - a borough that also has the one of the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual abuse in the UK - we have created our first project which is open to clients of all relevant support groups in the area. This means that any woman who can benefit from our classes can attend, rather than in the past when we only held classes in client venues and refuges.

Our primary partner agency is Migrant Help UK which has a refuge locally for people seeking asylum, many of whom are women escaping war, slavery and trafficking. But there is also a Women's Aid refuge nearby and women come from there to join the class. We are publicising the project to other agencies supporting victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, and we are really pleased to see more women attending on a weekly basis.

Most of these women are isolated and very far from home. All are seriously traumatised. But there is a wonderful sense of joy when we put the music on and they start to move and dance together. Zahida who teaches the class is eternally positive and smiling, and her warmth and positivity rubs off on everyone. The women soon begin to smile and laugh as they dance to the music and learn new moves, and it's marvellous to see them chatting together after class.

At the end of the class Zahida always asks if anyone has any favourite music from home on their phone. Then she plugs it into the speaker and everyone dances together to the latest track from Eritrea or Albania!

Music and dance bringing people together and helping heal terrible trauma - that's what our work is all about and we feel very blessed and grateful to you all for helping make it happen. We will be launching a fundraiser next year specifically to raise funding for this project, and we really hope you will be able to support us.

Love and friendship to you all during the festive season

Charlotte

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

 

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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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