Bringing a message of hopeBy Hiroko Seth | Apr 23, 12 12:38 PM
Hiroko Seth and her husband Roger are the founders of SIMAID ‘Girls off the Streets’ project in India.
Hiroko’s journey of recovery from childhood abuse showed her that it’s possible to heal from deep emotional wounds. Reclaiming her life led her to create an aftercare home for sex trafficking survivors in India.
Hiroko Seth and her husband Roger are the founders of an aftercare home and co-lead the SIMAID ‘Girls off the Streets’ project in India. SIMAID is an organisation dedicated to delivering aid to sustainable projects empowering communities to live with dignity and hope - removing threats of child labour, poverty and exploitation.
SIMAID believe that all women and girls should have access to health, education and employment resources in a healthy and secure environment. Here Hiroko talks to us about her big dream for ‘Girls off the Streets'.
Summarise how you're changing the world. I don’t see what I’m doing as ‘changing the world' what I do is contribute to change, right where I am. In my city there are not enough safe places for girls who are rescued from sex trafficking. So my husband and I wanted to start a home that could be a healing refuge for all the vulnerable girls who’ve escaped their horrible situation.
Why do you want to change the world? About ten years ago I went through a healing journey from my own childhood sexual abuse. In spite of many who believe that a person can’t really recover from severely traumatic events, I experienced healing from trauma - though it was very hard work! Afterwards I had a desire to go to the most abused girls, from whom most people might look away thinking “there is no hope for these girls,” and bring them a message of hope. That was the beginning of my big dream.
What do you expect to be the biggest challenges in realising your dream in the future and how do you plan to overcome them? Challenges always come in all shapes and sizes, including the most unexpected. In a project like ours, all kinds of challenges emerge; helping the girls, running the programme, working with the team, fundraising, nurturing relationships with the government. But if you just face each challenge one at a time and never lose hope, you can always move through it. For me, it’s the act of facing any obstacle which is the biggest challenge. The test is to think “with this particular obstacle currently in front of me, do I have the courage to work it through with all creativity in me?” my approach is always not to let the obstacle itself crush me but help me grow as I work through it.
When it feels tough, what do you do to get through the difficult times? Take a deep breath and tell myself, there is always a way through.
What have been your biggest achievements, turning points or milestones so far in achieving your vision? Being able to face my biggest fear, which was the inner pain from my past. When you experience abuse you feel like you will die. So you compartmentalise the pain so that you don’t have to experience it. Even years after the abuse, to go back to that memory is like another “dying” experience. But once you actually face it and you find that you did not in fact die but that instead you can choose life in the midst of it, that’s a revolutionary experience. That was my key turning point—when I faced the pain and realised that I wouldn’t die, and I chose life.
Fast forward five years. Paint us a picture of where you would like to be with your dream/vision? The current short-stay home (for girls up to age 18) would be running well, helping newly-rescued girls start on the path of healing. I'd also want to also see a long-term home for sex trafficking survivors (girls up to age 18), a halfway home (for young women age 18+) with a supportive community of people who can help them move on in life, and a prevention/awareness programme aimed to stop girls from being trafficked in the first place.
Finish this sentence. If my big dream becomes a reality, I would … see a stream of previously-trafficked girls having been healed and moving forward in life, flourishing, working toward their own big dreams.
Hiroko is speaking at a number of events throughout May for SIMAID. To hear her story and support her cause head here for more details http://www.simaid.org.au/shop/products/tickets