The Resource Centre
There was a need to create a pleasant environment that promotes well-being, safety culture, and confidentiality, and can accommodate different activities and programmes for survivors. For this reason, survivor leaders envisioned a space within the community that would be exclusive to them. Azadi's team worked together with survivors of trafficking to envisage a space for survivors, that was survivor-led, where they could feel safe and supported. Azadi was very intentional about supporting survivors to take initiative to come up with the space they wanted and elements that they would love to see at the resource centre. Survivors then took lead in developing the different systems and procedures for the space that works for them.
Together, the survivor leaders and the team discussed factors to consider before and when choosing the house. Some of those factors were; the location of the resource centre. We were looking to have a physical space that would be easily accessible by road and public transportation as well as a place with social infrastructure and services like hospitals, police stations, grocery shops etc. A space that would accommodate a good number of people at once with rooms that are spacious enough for activities and training, and a space with a garden where outdoor activities could take place.
The resource centre was officially opened on the 28th of January 2022. It is a fascinatingly beautiful piece of heaven, with breathtaking scenery, exquisite space with lush soft grass, and garden-fresh flowers. It’s a breathtaking space for survivors to come together to create a community and receive the support they need to harness their inner leadership. It’s a serene environment surrounded by nature which helps heal and ground one after stress pulls us away from well-being, survivors come together to relax and interact with one another, talk, eat together and enjoy the healing power of nature.
Our aim is to empower survivors, increase their capacity and include them in all aspects of developing survivor-led research to further understand the phenomenon of human trafficking. Consequently, the centre facilitates the creation of an enabling environment that empowers and draws the community of survivors to actively participate in events. We run several programmes at the resource centre all of which are meant to facilitate healing, reintegration, capacity building, and survivor leadership. The resource centre has a set conference facility that can cater to about 20 persons which is available to staff and survivor leaders whenever they have training or projects. The centre is now equipped with basic kitchen appliances capable of handling meals for a number of people at a time. Currently, we have hired two more staff, a cleaner and an on-call cook as scrumptious meals and tea are usually provided for survivors each time for each engagement we run at the centre. The survivors have access to a wifi connection that enables them to work and study, while those working or researching on projects are able to use the space for mentorship, employment, and consultancy work. We also have a lounge area that survivors and staff use for recreational activities.
We have values and culture in accordance with which we practise interacting with respect and with a focus on well-being and safeguarding. We also have specific activities for that purpose, e.g. group therapy sessions every other week at the resource centre. So far, we have had training for survivors with an interest in research. We also have yoga, art therapy, and debriefing sessions for projects. We also have fun days every now and then where our staff and members, and their families come together to mingle and get to know each other. We are incredibly proud of the space we have built and the function it has had for the survivor leaders at Azadi and as a space for our activities and projects. It has truly enabled us to foster and encourage community, healing, and safety.
Our intention is to make the resource centre a home away from home and for that reason in the near future, we are looking to set up a beautiful nursery where moms can comfortably nurse their babies in private, and where kids can play. We are also looking to set up a creative space where survivors in the art community can get an opportunity to showcase their creativity. We have many other plans like these that will enable us to support more survivor leaders to heal and thrive. We are incredibly excited to see how this space will evolve and develop as we grow.