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Human Trafficking Shelter Provides Women with Art Therapy

What can you do when you have no words to express how you feel? One way to deal with this silence is to  create art.

Art is universal, and it goes beyond just producing something. Art can be therapeutic, and that is exactly how it has been utilized by women staying at the Ewa’a Shelters for Victims of Human Trafficking in Abu Dhabi.

In association with the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), the shelter organized an exhibition that displays artwork created by female victims of human trafficking. This was done in an effort to support these victims and aid them in healing by boosting their confidence, optimism, and self-esteem.

Sarah Suhail, the general director at Ewa’a Shelters for Victims of Human Trafficking, stated, “We at Ewa’a believe that survivors gain the greatest benefit from their rehabilitation journey through art.”

She went on to say, “We have witnessed a positive impact on how it changes a survivor’s state of mind from feeling like an outsider to becoming a lover of life once more. Through art, [survivors] learn to embrace life again and attain an inner peace.”

Ewa’a Shelters has provided access to high quality art supplies and to one-on-one art classes with professional artists such as Jennifer Simon, Kate Carter, and Isabelle Alves. The artists work with the survivors to create personal works of art.

The corporate communication manager explained how Ewa’a Shelters receives victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The organization provides them with first relief and support. Additionally, it provides them with medical care, social and psychological services, and legal support.

Shelters such as Ewa’a are vital for helping women get back on their feet after enduring traumatic experiences. All of these efforts and improvements prove that these women can still lead beautiful and meaningful lives, and that people are there to help and support them every step of the way.

The exhibition that showcases these art creations is titled “Silent Voices.” Contrary to the title, these art pieces are far from silent. They can take the form of mosaic sculptures, cabinets, trays, and even beautiful living room sets. All of these pieces express the women’s own fears, frustrations, hopes, and dreams through art.

The display is emotional and moving, and certainly provides hope to others overcoming difficult experiences.

The artwork at the exhibit was made during sixteen workshops, and the pieces are being sold at the Galleria on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi. The proceeds will be donated to Ewa’a Shelters.

Although this exhibition is used for fundraising, it also spreads awareness of the very serious and real issue of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children. Ewa’a Shelter alone has received and catered to more than 263 victims, and 22 of these victims were children.

Art is an amazing outlet for anyone to use when trying to overcome internal issues and obstacles. You do not need to be a professional to produce artwork that can positively impact you and others around you.

Featured Image by Peyri Herrera on  Flickr
Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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