ROVIDING VICTIMS A VOICE
D. Sh., Director
D. Sh. is the Director of AAGW. She received a BA in English from Tirana University and has worked as a high school English teacher in Albania as well as a health educator, community developer, and social worker for Caritas Switzerland, Caritas Germany, Kinderhaus, and the International Organization of Migration (IOM). D.Sh. has been working with victims of human trafficking for over twelve years. For reasons of security, her name may not be publicized on this website.
E.C. is the ninth elected president of AAGW. Elections are an important step in empowering our members. E. is 21 years old and came to the shelter when she was 19. For reasons of security, her identity must be kept private in her country.
AAGW provides its members with materials and training in artistic handicrafts. There are three reasons such an activity is beneficial. The first is the inherent therapeutic value of the creative process. Manual artistry is psychologically soothing and rehabilitative, and our members urgently need emotional rehabilitation. Second, producing a work of art which is beautiful and valuable in the eyes of others is beneficial for self-esteem. Some of our newest members lack even the minimum of self-respect, and seeing that others view their work favorably aids in the development of a positive self-image. Finally, the money for all items sold goes directly to the artists themselves. Earning money from the work of one’s own hands is helpful emotionally as well as financially.
AAGW gives victims of trafficking a voice. One of our goals is to help educate the general public about trafficking through outreach activities by former victims, and our "Members' Statement" is one example. This is our message to the world, what we want you to know. We hope that having a public platform will help change the stigma we face and alter the way others in society view us. AAGW members work in conjunction with other NGO's dealing with trafficking and women's issues as part of a cooperative network of organizations addressing different aspects of the trafficking problem. Our heartfelt wish is to prevent what happened to us from happening to other girls and women.
EVELOPING LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Another important purpose of AAGW is to provide us with leadership opportunities. The president and other leaders are elected and supervise the activities of the organization. We decide how funds will be used, which handicrafts to make, what materials we need, and how to budget our time and money. Such a process is educational and provides us with important financial, interpersonal, and decision-making skills.
OB TRAINING & PLACEMENT
AAGW and its supporters work independently and in conjunction with Different & Equal and other NGO’s and vocational programs to provide targeted job skills training, ranging from general orientation in “workplace expectations” to vocation-specific training. AAGW also works with the Different & Equal and a targeted group of employers to place former trafficked women into safe and constructive work environments.