Chayn vs. 2020: dispatches from an optimistic team

Supporting 600 people through Bloom and launching our first dedicated project for survivors of sexual assault

Hello everyone!

We’re Connor and Zoë from the Chayn volunteer network. 

The year might be almost over, but we here at Chayn are busier than ever, including getting ready for the Your Story Matters launch! Our team has been working very hard, and today we bring you some incredibly exciting updates and events. So let’s launch straight into what we’ve been up to - and how you can get involved.

Updates from Chayn

  • YSM: Your Story Matters (YSM) is launching on November 19th (come to our event!). Our team at Chayn has worked for over a year to build a web app designed by and for survivors of abuse and assault. YSM is for all survivors to use after experiencing abuse to provide them with the mental, emotional, and legal information they need to navigate trauma. With themes such as “Accessing justice through the law,” “Moving through trauma,” and “Body, sex, and relationships,” YSM aids survivors in many areas. YSM can be accessed anonymously at ysmysm.co for free, where users are welcome to use it with or without creating an account. 

    Over the last year of researching, writing, and building YSM, we have learned so much about creating a global online tool that is inclusive to all survivors no matter how they identify. We began by conducting research to see what resources were out there for survivors and what resources survivors desired that they didn’t have. This led us to understand that we could build an app that contains the breadth of information that survivors needed to help them across the many avenues of trauma recovery all in one place. Our global team of designers, researchers, writers, and developers worked together to bring you this resource in YSM.

We will be hosting a launch event on November 19th at 3pm GMT and we invite you all to join! In addition to hearing about the app and its features, we will also welcome our keynote speaker Sohaila Abdulali, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape. Register for free here. We can’t wait to share this project with you!

  • Bloom: Bloom 2020 is a wrap! Alyson, Beatriz, Hera, Tiffany, myself (Zoë), and our trauma therapist Paula, worked so very hard to facilitate our courses on ‘Coping with domestic abuse’, ‘Recovery from Sexual Violence, ‘Trauma Resilience’, ‘Creating boundaries’, and ‘Managing anxiety’. Across our 5 courses, we delivered 62 video sessions - including 3 live sessions - to almost 600 participants over a period of 11 weeks, sent 176 daily messages, and engaged with more than 100 of our participants over direct chat. Whew, that was a lot of numbers - and a lot of engagement! With all 5 courses finished, we’re spending the rest of the year reflecting on this work. 

And we’re not just reflecting for ourselves; on 1st and 2nd December, the team will be running training workshops on how the Bloom programme ran, for any person or organisation interested in delivering a similar remote trauma support programme. So far, 26 people across at least 5 organisations have registered for our ‘pocket’ training. There’s still time to sign up, so if you’re interested, do email us. 

We’re also getting ready for Bloom 2021 - getting our 5 courses edited, perfected, and funded to start again in February of next year. So as we reflect on how to make this next round of Bloom even more engaging and educational, we’ll leave you with this reflection from one of our lovely participants. We are so grateful and humbled to do this work, with so many amazing survivors.

Call for help

  • To help survivors access resources local to them, we have created a directory in YSM of local organizations or programs that can aid survivors in a variety of needs, including medical help, legal assistance, and housing. If you’re a service that would like to be included in our directory, please let us know by emailing us at team@chayn.co

  • YSM is launching in the UK and Pakistan, but we are looking to continue expanding to other countries and territories! If you’re interested in helping YSM grow by becoming a partner or a funder, please reach out to us at team@chayn.co.

  • The Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network is hosting a grant competition with a call for research which focuses on understanding violence, abuse, and mental health. We’re excited with the psychological focus of research, especially with our entry into the mental health sector under the Bloom programme. We would love to hear from anyone interested in collaborating with Chayn to apply for this research grant; the application deadline is 11 December! 

Challenges

  • With two big projects launching in the second half of this year - Bloom and Your Story Matters - our team is grateful, hopeful, and...tired. So much work has gone into these projects - special shout-outs, in particular, go to Nooreen, Lakshmi, Rebecca, Carolina, Valentina, Alyson, Tiffany, Chloe and Beatriz for their dedicated work across these past few months. Fortunately, we have been having both team and individual sessions with our Bloom therapist, Paula, who has been a tremendous source of support to our team in this busy time. As they always say, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so keeping our volunteers healthy and support is our first priority.

  • Keeping people engaged online! With everyone spending so much time on the Internet under lockdown, the ‘Zoom fatigue’ is getting real. As an organisation with support services primarily online, we’re always looking for ways to keep people engaged and excited about our web services. Any advice is always welcome!

What are we reading and watching?

With all our upcoming events and training, we hope to see you very soon. 


Until then, best wishes from all of us here at Chayn,

Connor, Zoë, and the Chayn team