May 12, 2012
“What do you think of, when you think of home?”
“I think of our family, sitting and eating together. I think of my mom, my dad, my uncle, aunt, and brother. And I think of my brother’s laugh as we joke around during dinner.”
“What are your dreams?”
“I dream of seeing the ocean for the first time. I dream of being a really great student so I can find a job that is secure to help support my family.”
Each woman full with stories of their past, shared bittersweet memories of home and what it means for them to create a new life for themselves. It is important to see the humanity of the young women we work with. It is important to empower the young women to not be defined by the stigma of what happened to them, but to reclaim their past, their history, and their cultural roots to solidly pave a path for their future.
The mural project was created from just that desire, to humanize these young women. The project was developed from the belief that these women are more than just trafficked returnees, but are whole human beings who have a history, a culture, hopes, and dreams. I journeyed with the women living at Compassion House, our Reintegration Shelter in Lao Cai, for 10 days, sharing stories of home and drawing memories of the past and visions for the future. Here is a photo journal of our process: