South Park – North Park – Golden Hill

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

FirstFruits NEWS September 2017 Issue

September 2017 Issue
"A Quality Fruit Company Committed To Bearing Fruit...Fruit That Will Last" 
 (John 15:16)
Power of Storytelling
What does it take for people to collectively stand with the vulnerable, create a culture of inclusion, and become advocates for change when that means confronting violence, shame and risks your own security? As I traveled to Haiti last month, that question was on my mind.

Rather than being known as a country of strong, resilient, creative people who have persisted in the face of tremendous exploitation, Haiti is synonymous with poverty. International aid has contributed to a sense of dependence and despair and violence has reached such proportions that some are calling for it to be treated as a public health issue.  One in six girls & one in ten boys live in domestic servitude and seven out of ten girls will experience sexual, physical and emotional abuse by the time they are 18.

For change to take hold at the community level, it must be believed in by the people themselves. Using storytelling material based on peoples lived experiences; Beyond Borders fosters dialogue and raises community consciousness. In these safe spaces, people are invited to reflect on their life experiences, sharing their own stories of exploitation and abuse, and come to discover that they are not alone. As people open up and begin to trust each other, they become liberated, shame that led to distrust and silence lessens, what flourished in the shadows is no longer tolerated by the community.  They are compelled to take action, not only bringing home their own children, but in caring for others and speaking out against abuse of power. This is how change takes hold.

To learn more about Beyond Borders, visit

Melanie Lopez-Grewal, VHF Grants and Communications Coordinator

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