Ties that Bind 

Helping Me Accomplish My Dreams
October 5, 2023
Together for the Neighbourhoods
March 14, 2024

The STEP program helps women from the north side of the city literally take a step and to move forward together with others. The Life Skills curriculum offers a track on “Forgiveness: Moving on from Loss and Trauma”.  These classes then lead on to a “Taga” (grief) Group, which helps the ladies deal appropriately with things they have lost and being able to come to a place of peace, so they can move on.

For the participants, making peace with yourself and others – finding or giving forgiveness – takes many forms. The hurt could include damaging actions in the domestic context, or where women have witnessed appalling violence done to their families during the Kosovo (1998-1999) and Macedonian (2001) conflicts in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Albana and Jetmira* both saw many of her clan gunned down in a massacre just across the border. The women were spared but brothers, uncles and fathers were murdered by incendiary devices placed in a house. Harrowing tales of final messages and words are present as if they happened yesterday.

Just having the opportunity to give voice to the distress of the post trauma, still very much present even after decades, is a new reality in the Grief Group. Having the chance to express pain of profound loss and a place to take it is a first step in finding some peace with the past and its horrors.

*Name changed

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