Every year Shared Hope works in partnership with domestic and international partners, giving them grants to fund their direct service work with survivors and offer them technical support. This year we are graduating 3 organizations from our grant program and want to share with you their journeys!
This week we are interviewing Natasha Nascimento, Founder & Executive Director of Redefining Refuge! Watch for future posts featuring the rest of their story.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and why you founded your organization.
A: After spending almost a decade in Finance, I found myself becoming increasingly disenfranchised with my career, and in truth; even myself. Climbing the ‘corporate ladder’ was not fulfilling to me at all. At the time (2008/2009), I distinctly remember reading a C.S. Lewis book that talked about the concept of ‘time’ – specifically that if we were headed down a ‘path of success’ that wasn’t truly ours; then that was not in fact progress but regression at its finest. That struck a chord very deep within me but I wasn’t quite sure why. I only knew I was incredibly miserable on the inside regardless of what my life appeared to be like on the outside.
Months after reading this book, I suddenly remembered making a silent promise to God in elementary school (after learning of a classmate’s parental sexual abuse) that “one day I was going to help girls like that.” Of course as time went by, I moved on with my life and forgot all about this until I was reminded in what can only be described as a miraculous way. This revelation both set and changed the course of my life forever, and although I was determined to keep that promise, I was not quite sure where to even begin. I started volunteering my time, and using my network to provide resources to those respective agencies that were already providing some type of service to sexual trauma/assault victims.
In doing this for almost two years, I started to become well acquainted with the concept of ‘forced prostitution’ and upon learning that these children were being arrested as such; sent me into an absolute internal outrage! My mission became astoundingly clear – I simply had to tell everyone that this was actually human trafficking and that it was happening in the United States to American children – who knew?! Starting Redefining Refuge was purely to create public awareness and a call to action, but as life would have it; this tiny ‘mad idea’ took on an entire spirit of its own. Almost a decade later, here I am, and now when I read that C.S. Lewis book, I no longer feel this sense of urgency about time. I have peace that my time is being well-spent on the path I was created for.