In December we closed the application process for 2017 year’s License Scholarships and faced the daunting task of finding the winners among so many worthy applicants. Out of four hundred (!) applications from thirtyfive countries, we managed to choose ten amazing scholarship recipients. We’re so incredibly impressed with these people and the work they do. We know you will be too.
CRISTINA POP, Romania, is a psychotherapist, working mainly with people who’ve experienced various kinds of trauma.
“Many of them have a background of developmental trauma and currently lead a life scarce in resources (mainly relational, but sometimes also financial), and I’m eager to learn new tools for working with them. I’m also looking for other ways to reach people who need psychological support but are not open to start therapy. In our culture, we’re still warming up to this kind of services, and many people are quite reluctant to try them. I think that writing could be such an activity.”
KATIE WATSON is a part of the Greater Manchester Women’s Support Alliance (GMWSA), an alliance of 9 women’s centres across the Greater Manchester region, England, who provide specialist, gender-responsive and holistic support to women who have been involved in the Criminal Justice System, or who are at risk of becoming involved.
Katie is also a writer and poet. She says, “Receiving this scholarship means having a long-term aspiration become a reality. It would tie together so many areas of personal interest, skills and values that I hold so dear. Ultimately, I want my work with women to be focused not on their problems, but on their stories.”
REESEE, Canada, is the founder of Reclaim Your Voice, an organisation hosting free monthly events where people who have experienced various forms of abuse share their stories.
“Following the oral story sharing, we conduct group exercises designed to help participants express their feelings creatively. We believe that helping people find their voices can be so crucial to the healing process.
Having this training would further enhance our efforts to help people break their silence.”
M. FAISAL AMIR MALIK, Pakistan, completed his MBBS from King Edward Medical University and is a researcher within the field of psychiatry.
“There is a lack of mental health professionals in our country. About 400 psychiatrists for a population of more than 200 million. Writing can be a valuable tool in our fight against trauma, particularly in younger patients. But, unfortunately, there is little funding available and worse, there are few professionals who can provide systematic guidance. I want to learn to guide patients in this method. I also would like to do more research in order to better understand and establish the efficacy of this method and contribute to the growing body of scientific literature on this subject.”
SUSANNE OLIVER ARMSTRONG is completing a Doctorate in Creative Arts in Queensland Australia, exploring the intergenerational transference of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) though the methodology of creative writing. She is also a grief counsellor, nurse, adult educator and grandmother.
“As a researcher and advocate for mental health and suicide prevention I promote the therapeutic value of creative writing, especially for those suffering from the impact of trauma. In my work, I have witnessed the power of healing through creative expression in women suffering from sexual abuse and domestic violence, and I have personally experienced the cathartic nature of writing through my own journey of healing trauma. I eagerly look forward to hosting Write Your Self conversations and workshops in my community, and to further promote the beneficial nature of writing throughout my networks in Australia.”
AMANDA MURPHY, Canada, works with youth who have been through trauma or who suffer daily traumas as a result of marginalization or poverty.
“I’ve spent my last three summers running a literacy camp. At this camp we attempt to make reading, writing and storytelling engaging for the youth of the community – we want to give them a way to empower themselves positively by telling and understanding their own stories and the world around them. I would love to learn more about trauma, and about how writing can help to heal. My dream is to be able to impart this knowledge on the youth that I work with, and to build resilience and promote healing.”
MARIA WOGLINDE, Sweden, is a yoga teacher and offers yoga as a complement to other treatments at youth detention and rehabilitation centers.
“My mission is to provide yoga classes for relaxation, self regulation, recuperation and body awareness. The youths are often victims of circumstances where their sense of agency and ability to know right from wrong is impaired. Yoga can offer an opportunity to regain a sense of control and ability. Similar to what I think writing can do.
I also teach staff and management groups at these facilities about the effects of trauma sensitive yoga, and hopefully, in the future, about the healing potential of writing.”
PHILIPPA WENTZEL works at an education centre dedicated to supporting particularly vulnerable refugee and migrant women in Germany, especially women who’ve fled violence and persecution, forced prostitution or trafficking.
“Through our work, we aim to provide the women with two things: a safe space, and empowerment to (re)find their own voice through language. Thanks to the scholarship, I’ll be able to introduce writing workshops, too. This would give students, who generally have little to no access to psychological support, opportunities to process and make sense of their feelings in a safe, nurturing environment. The more people who have access to these kinds of tools, the better. The need is there.”
CAROLINE CASCO, Sweden, is a therapist and educator who works for an NGO focusing on women caught in trafficking and prostitution, as well as women who use sex in a self-destructive way.
“We actively seek out vulnerable women, and we also run shelters where women can stay in safety and have a chance to find a new direction in life. Recently, we have also started transition homes, and that’s where I think writing could do a lot of good. As an opportunity to process trauma.”
INGRID HESS is currently doing a master’s degree in Societal Security. She is also a volunteer in the Norwegian Red Cross, in a program called “Network after sentencing”, working with jails in Norway.
“I want to establish a writing group for women in these prisons. Most of them have gone through trauma. As their male counterparts, they’ve been beaten and abused most of their lives. However, the women in here have also been sexually abused and raped. I strongly believe that writing will encourage them to look at themselves differently and maybe get the courage to start a new life when they get out from prison.”
This year’s scholarship application process opens in the fall. Sign up for our newsletter below to stay in the loop about the exact dates and how to apply.
Anna is a writer, editor and conceptual designer at Write Your Self. She believes in vulnerability, creativity and the powerful medicine of our stories.
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