They file into the workshop space and I am shocked at how young they all are. Ranging in age from 10- 20 or so, most of the 25 are in the lower end of that. One had only been at the "safe house" for a few days, having just been rescued. Others had been there for a year as they built a new life for themselves, most being isolated from their families who would not welcome them back home. They are on their own, relying on the sisterhood of other survivors of human trafficking and the numerous NGOs operating in Nepal whose purpose is to help them resettle back into their country. They are here for two days of expressive arts therapy - a small reprieve in their otherwise hard climb back into life.
The workshop teachers are women who were much like themselves, a few years back. They have been trained now in this method of using art and movement as a place for creativity and generating joy. They get to draw their "inner" and "outer" selves and other exercises that serve to give them an island of joy in the midst of the many problems in their lives.
They are children, children who have lost their childhood, and replaced it with an unimaginable horror. The paper and the crayons become their retreat. For a short time they get lost in the joy of creation. A glimpse into the possibility of a new life, a new way of seeing themselves.