Brisa is the CEO and founder of A Breeze of Hope, a global foundation that works for prevention, healing, and justice for child victims of sexual violence. Since its founding in 2004, A Breeze of Hope’s center in Bolivia has provided social assistance, legal services, therapy, and other services to thousands of children and their supportive, non-offending family members.A Breeze of Hope has also improved laws and policies for the protection of children throughout the Americas.
AmongLatin American countries, Bolivia has the highest rate of gender-based violence. According to statistics given to the government, around 87 percent of women who reported having suffered sexual violence also reported that their aggressors were family members. Brisa, who experienced incestuous sexual violence, created A Breeze of Hope to end childhood sexual violence and provide access to justice and healing to survivors.
How does A Breeze of Hope carry out its work?
Through legal procedures
Brisa has developed A Breeze of Hope to help victims heal, build bright futures, and endurethe arduous legal proceedings involved in prosecuting offenders.The organization’s attorneys provide support from the initial complaint to high court appeals and everything in between. The organization knows that most victims are threatened by the aggressors who seek to enforce the victims’ silence, as well as by family members who intimidate and shame the children into silence. To overcome this struggle, A Breeze of Hopehas developed a transdisciplinary approach where teams of social workers, psychologists, and attorneys collaborate to ensure the children’s protection, emotionalwell-being, and the rebuilding of safe support networks.
Living with trauma is complex.This is why A Breeze of Hope provides intensive and long-term therapy to the victims. Therapeutic activities for children and young women includeart, music, yoga, meditation, theatre, andsports, as well as internal family systems therapy (IFS), family systems therapy, and trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy.
A Breeze of Hope is a very child-centered organization. Their teams are dedicated to helping children in a manner that respects the express wishes of the children, which is why their advisory board is composed only of children. In this way , the children can inform staff about everything staff are doing right, what things staff can do better, what things the organization needs to change or add.
Though Brisa has built such an extensive support system for child survivors of sexual violence, she still maintains that, “There is still a long way to go. And though governing a developing country with many political and economic challenges pulls state resources in myriad directions, I would like the governments to intensify their focus on these issues because doing so would, I think, bolster their efforts to strengthen entire nations.
Seeing that a child can get justice because of my efforts is exceptionally healing. Nothing is more rewarding and exciting than seeing one of these children, who have been so broken, to have dreams and smile again. I always tell people that if someone offered me a $10 million job, there’s no way I would take it or even consider it because there’s nothing in this world that can provide me with the joy and satisfaction of children smiling and dreaming again.”