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Hearing our Voices: Pathways from Oppression to Liberation through Community-Based Participatory Research


A number of qualitative-based participatory approaches have been used to analyse and address structural inequalities and intersectional gender oppression. This has been broadly evident in the academic environment and, particularly, in social work education and practice. However, more participatory aspects of social justice research, such as inviting and supporting disenfranchised and vulnerable populations to become more intimately involved in identifying their issues, together with developing remedial strategies and acting upon them, are still generally marginal, leaving both researchers and practitioners travelling on the uneven ground. In an attempt to level these troughs in social work education (and, by extension, practice), the paper will explore the transformative outcomes associated with participatory action research conducted as emancipatory and liberatory tools in research undertaken in collaboration with trafficking survivors in Nepal. The purpose of this paper is to explore the collective experiences of growing critical consciousness around social injustice and structural inequalities that contributed to survivors being “doubly victimisedâ€. Hence, in this paper, their resiliency in the face of that victimisation is not discussed. The goal of the paper is three-fold: (1) share the study process/approaches that supported an increase in the survivors’ critical thinking about their own oppression; (2) consider the impact of survivors’ solidarity in social and political action; and (3) examine the applicability of an emerging model of survivors’ liberatory practice. Overall, this paper will explore new and potentially liberatory ways to address the multiple and complex issues facing survivors upon return, and promote transformative praxis to support healthy individual and collective development.


Collaborative Experiences, Critical Consciousness, Liberation, Oppression, Trafficking Survivors, Shakti Samuha, Community-Based Participatory Research, Nepal


Author Biography

Shanti Lama

Chair Person, Shanti Foundation


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