The women I met at Glory House all came from violent and traumatic backgrounds such as living on the streets and homelessness, losing their children, addiction, prostitution, abuse in all of its horrific forms, prison stays and mental illness and at times, combinations of the above.
They were young and old, of all ethnic groups and religions and they were transient on site, but almost all of them were determined to work their way up and out of their predicament.
During our weekly meetings we read the world and the word, watched films and plays, visited museums and read, and read, sometimes writing but always talking, sharing, advising and supporting each other.
We talked about the power of language and processes of marginalization, critical reading and different ways of being in a process that pointed the women to recognize their strengths, tell their own stories (which had been told about them until then), revalue their lives and personal worth and find possibilities and hope.
I have written several articles/chapters about aspects of the literacy process as a vehicle for raising voice:
Finding Voice: Rethinking and Re-valuing Lives through Reading and Writing
A video of the empowering journey of the women of Glory House