Today, we would like to profile an interesting and relevant program, pertaining to Gender Based Violence- People for Parity Foundation’s Pain to Power program, also called as “Pratiti“.
The idea behind it is that gender identity – given or adopted, affects the life of most people and in diverse ways, leading them to experience high levels of denial, depression, anxiety, flashbacks, loneliness, anger, shame or a general lack of hope and causing lasting psychological trauma. Pain to Power is an experiential journey to empower survivors of sexual violence, acid attacks, forced or abusive marriages, body-image shaming, parental neglect or abuse among others. The journey aims to heal and transform the participants’ pain from such gendered experiences by learning and experiencing tools for reflection and building self-awareness as well as by sharing about one’s experiences in a safe, non-judgmental community.
People for Parity (PFP) has been conducting intensive workshops on gender issues with young people for over 3 years and over the course of this time, we have observed both the need and the potential of healing from gendered experiences to lead more fulfilling and peaceful lives.
How it works is this- 20 young people join the journey for a period 3 months beginning with a 4 day residential workshop on gender, self-awareness and community building in the Himalayas, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. After that, there is a community meet-up and one-on-one facilitator meet-ups every fortnight to facilitate inner healing via speaking one’s truth. Participatory activities are used to enable such reflection and sharing, and the workshops are led by facilitators trained and experienced in holding caring, nurturing and non-judgmental spaces. Understanding the systemic nature of one’s experiences and sharing one’s innermost feelings and experiences develops a participant’s ability to transcend pain caused by past experiences. In addition, self-awareness tools and the community created provide support for resolving future feelings and experiences.
Participants should be open to healing in a group process in the company of diverse gender and sexual identities. They should commit to spending time and energy on their own transformation and should be willing to take ownership of their life and feelings. They should also commit to attending the initial residential workshop and all subsequent meetups, and cover their travel and logistics for the same.
Residential workshop will set the context for the entire journey by building a safe space for sharing and healing amongst the participants as well as by introducing self-awareness and reflection tools. The workshop is planned in the Himalayas as it is important to take out time from our city lives and spend time in natural surroundings in order to connect with one’s inner self and with others. Also, to find a community with fellow participants, it is essential to find time to just be – to laugh, cry, talk, dance, share and so on.
It is different from counseling in the sense that PFP’s approach relies on participant’s willingness to take ownership of their lives and aims to build their capacity to support themselves as well as others through this journey and in similar future experiences. Counseling, though often more suited to people’s immediate needs, aims to address the situation by identifying causal factors and requires continued support from the counselor or an external facilitator.
Group process will enable reflection and sharing on topics like – gender, identity, role of gender, violence, social power, conflict resolution, inner critic, reaction mechanisms and so on. We also have partnerships with legal and counseling providers which the participants can access if the need arises.
The program has been very well received so far, as is evident from participant testimonials.
At CSR, we have been working against gender based violence for almost three decades, and firmly believe that it is entrenched in our society in unimaginable ways. While preventive measures need to be strongly in place, it is also essential for survivors to be provided adequate platforms to fully recover and emerge as stronger people. To enable real empowerment of survivors, and effective prevention of gender based violence, the youth needs to engaged and we feel this program is an excellent way to do so.
You can learn more about the application process here.
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