AAUW-San Juan (“AAUW-SJ”) has sponsored a project that has made a major difference in the lives of women who are survivors of domestic violence and abuse. As a result of a Community Action Grant awarded by AAUW National in 2012, the project—”Healing Through Writing Workshops”—was first implemented at three women’s shelters located in San Juan, Vega Baja and Humacao in 2013/14 by AAUW member Patricia Schaefer Röder, benefiting 178 women to date.
Since 2015, AAUW-SJ has funded the program at the Casa Protegida Julia de Burgos, a women’s shelter located in San Juan. The work of Patricia, a well-known writer and literary translator, has
been inspirational. The program’s goals are to help the participants find their own voices and strengthen their self-esteem, paving the path to their emotional healing for their future reinsertion in society. And, thanks to Patricia, it has successfully met these goals.
By doing the writing exercises and sharing them, not only do the women gain awareness, self-worth and empowerment, but also consistently improve their communication skills. Some of their writings are featured with aliases in “Letras Vivas”, a blog especially created for the workshops. See the blog here. On several occasions, participants have sent poetry they learned to write at the workshop to an international contest, resulting in their publication in the resulting anthology book.
Casa Protegida Julia de Burgos eagerly offers the Healing Through Writing Workshops every year, but struggles to find funding, particularly in the current environment with potential donors stretched to help so many other causes. AAUW-SJ has been very generous in helping to implement the program at the shelter on a yearly basis and is committed to its continued support. We are interested in your ideas. Your support can also help provide those domestic violence survivors with an invaluable tool for their healing process.
AAUW is sponsoring the Healing Through Writing Workshops again in 2019.