Feb 17, 2014
Departing head of training, Esme Meyer, considers the joys and the trials of walking with women from the line into a new life of freedom with a job at Freeset
Neels and Esme Meyer, instrumental at Freeset for the last 5 years, are leaving to join a similar work in their native South Africa
Each training group had their own unique difficulties and challenges to overcome. The highlight of each session is when they feel comfortable enough to take off the masks and start to tell their intimate stories. For many it is such a revelation to discover their own abilities and strengths in the midst of all the heartache of their pasts. In a playful way they discover their potential for change and start regain self-confidence and dignity.
After the women have made the choice to commit themselves to freedom and the new lifestyle that goes with that, Freeset also commits to journey with them before we launch them into production.
For most women it is a big step to choose an alternative lifestyle. Many are caught up in unhealthy lifestyles and behavioral patterns and have to make many changes in order to start a new life. Many have to move to new housing arrangements and neighborhoods, learn to work in a structured environment, learn to manage a monthly wage and some even, for the first time, have to take care of their children. As changes are in general stressful, the newcomers need a lot of support and encouragement to pull them through the rough patches.
During Freeset’s 3 month training program, I had the opportunity to conduct group therapy sessions and individual follow-up sessions with each training batch. The main purpose was to create a safe space and support structure for new trainees, where they could have the freedom to discover their own strengths, express their feelings and share their difficulties and fears. This opportunity was then used to teach them various interpersonal skills and to finally launch them into their new Freeset production community.
Their first salary day is usually a big celebration and does it touch my heart how that itself forms a big part of their healing process. As many would say, I never have to look back. Life is not over yet. I can now live my dream!
What a wonderful privilege to be part of our Freeset women’s freedom journeys.