Dispelling Darkness Project
If you would like to support this project, please consider giving to our GoFundMe Campaign. Every little bit helps and we thank you for your donations and continued support.
“Scream, so that one day, a hundred years from now
another sister will not have to dry her tears wondering where in history she lost her voice”
As part of an initiative to make a difference in the communities we live in and the ones that sustain us, we at Sampradaya Dance Creations have undertaken a two-year multi-disciplinary artistic project titled “Dispelling Darkness”. Administered by the Ontario Arts Council on behalf of the Ministry of the Status of Women , SDC is working in partnership with the Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS) and SAWITRI Theatre. Our program engages with survivors of sexual and domestic violence in South Asian communities. These survivors who are our program participants will work closely with artists from the disciplines of dance, music and theatre , along with certified counsellors to create a narrative based on their stories to raise awareness and help prevent sexual harassment and domestic violence in Ontario.
We believe that art has the incredible power to change lives. Be it a painting or a poem, dance or music, theater or the written word, art has the power to transform how we think and feel. We also believe that artists have an unspoken responsibility to push people from ‘thinking’ to ‘doing’ and in turn shape the environments we live in.
We have set in motion a series of weekly workshops at the Art Gallery of Mississauga that will continue to take place over a span of two years, where an initial set of 4 participants have come together to write, sing and move while they share their deeply personal stories. At the end of the first two years, and hopefully with a growing number of participants, these workshops will culminate in a presentation that will have elements of dance and theatre, within a narrative that stems from real–life stories of the survivors.
During the weekly workshops we, the artists, along with certified counsellors or case managers assigned by PCHS focus on activities to help participants cope with the difficulty of navigating their past and their present. The workshops conducted so far have seen the participants write, sing and move – activities that have helped them engage with not just each other to gradually build sound friendships but more importantly connect with their own selves from a place of self-worth. The workshops are filled with positive affirmations to cultivate courage, compassion and strength. And through this entire process we will continue to tackle negative emotions that get in the way of leading a fuller life. Our hope is to build a supportive and safe space to create both visual and performance art that will not just help towards rebuilding their lives; banishing feelings of guilt and shame; but also create strong messaging to build awareness in the community about the aftermath of abuse and to prevent it from happening in the future.
We are fully aware that coping with the consequences of abuse is a long and arduous process and for sharing their stories with us, we acknowledge and appreciate the time and resources they spend to make a difference in others’ lives as well – others who may be facing similar battles. Our hope is that with every passing year, the project will have a ripple effect so as to encourage more women to participate in these artistic pursuits as a method to heal and move forward.
What our participants have to say
– Every time is a different and beautiful experience – healing through learning to express. I am very thankful for the support and this group of women. I am here to share my story because I do not want anyone else to go through what I went through.
– I like to attend these workshops. I have good friends here now. I even learn how to live from here. Before I joined these sessions, I felt alone and upset. Now I feel better when I share my feelings and have someone listen.
– It’s a wonderful experience every time I join the session. Learning something new every session with different techniques. I am grateful to be here.
We need your support
This new program is reliant on short term grants and community contributions. It is increasingly difficult for the not-for-profit sector to continue to offer invaluable services such as these if we cannot raise funds to counter rising costs and expenses. Please consider supporting us through a donation to our GoFundMe campaign. Thank you.
How the money will be used
As you can imagine, a project such as this requires undivided attention, time and resources.
The money will be used to support the participants – the survivors. They will be compensated for their time spent on the project, thereby providing them with a source of livelihood, as many of them do not have full-time jobs.
The artists and other professionals involved such as the case managers and human rights consultants are also compensated for their time.
Why Dispelling Darkness matters.
We are deeply committed to these women’s aspirations and how they can contribute to their communities. We want to build on the success of the project and ensure its’ sustainability and impact through the years. We want the voices of these women to echo through time to encourage and inspire more women to come forward.
Our objectives by breaking down negative thoughts and dispelling feelings of helplessness is to also remove deep seated stigma attached to domestic abuse in South Asian households. This becomes increasingly difficult when many of the victims continue to live with their perpetrators.
The support of this campaign will mean that we can continue to do this extremely important and meaningful work in our society to empower women who are often bound by strict cultural scripts. We will gratefully acknowledge contributions made towards this project on our social media platforms. As an arts organization, along with your generous support we will be able to provide sustainable programming for the women to lead happy, healthy lives by empowering them to tell their stories to make a positive impact in their communities and lives.
Please help to make a difference! Visit our GoFundMe page for more information and to make a donation. Thank you.
Sampradaya Dance Creations is generously funded by: