When women begin to get a sense of their self worth, without exception, they want to do something to help other women. Harnessing one’s own suffering to work to prevent suffering in others seems intrinsic to recovery.
“Identity is strongly tied to meaningful roles in life, which validate new positive identities, making people feel part of the ‘mainstream’ and giving self-worth. Longitudinal data shows a strong association between higher life quality and engagement in meaningful activity”Best and Lubman (2012)
The problem is that opportunities for women to volunteer are difficult to find. Women who have been convicted for soliciting are listed as sex offenders and do not want to have to disclose that, preventing them from taking volunteering opportunities. In response Street Talk has a volunteering programme which offers women who have made progress, who are abstinent and well enough, to act as mentors or to help in other ways according to their interests.
In an ideal world, women would find another organisation to volunteer with because that might give them more of a sense of achievement, of having grown up and left home, but the volunteer programme with Street Talk offers a stepping stone.
Three women who came to Street Talk when they needed help have gone on to become trustees of the charity.