Joanna’s Journey to Empowerment

August 5, 2021

Earlier this summer, Joanna (name changed to protect her privacy) and 47 other survivors of trafficking, violence, and exploitation graduated from our Skills Training and Empowerment Program. 

STEP, as we call it for short, is a three-month program that digs into each survivor’s story and their hopes and dreams for the future.

Most of the survivors we serve have experienced complex trauma – generational poverty, family dysfunction and violence, and childhood abuse in addition to their trafficking or exploitation.

Joanna had never once considered that she could hope or dream of a different future. But that ended with STEP.

Over three months, each survivor in STEP takes individual and group counseling sessions where they process their experiences of trauma. They also take workshops that develop their career goals, emotional intelligence, and workplace skills. Each survivor also thinks and dreams about their future – often for the first time in their lives.

Joanna emerged from STEP with a career plan, with life and job skills tucked under her belt, and with hope for her life.

STEP grads

During the STEP graduation ceremony at a hotel in Cebu, Joanna and the other survivors (pictured above) walked proudly across the stage, smiles spread wide across their faces. They received their completion certificates and other awards and there was a palpable sense of accomplishment and of prevailing in difficult times.

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Joanna’s Journey to Empowerment

Earlier this summer, Joanna (name changed to protect her privacy) and 47 other survivors of trafficking, violence, and exploitation graduated from our Skills Training and

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