“I like DMT class because I can deal with all my problems through dance. I can calm myself and release my negative emotions through movement.”
Shila (name changed) is 17 years old but has only completed education up to year five. She grew up in a shelter home and was often violently and uncontrollably angry. She was depressed and would take out her negative emotions on her peers. She had no one with whom to share her issues; she felt isolated and that she could trust no one. Despite this, she desperately wanted to be able to trust and to make friends.

Shila never saw a counselor while living in the shelter home. Instead, the shelter home sent her to a DMT class that they thought might help her. Initially she was disruptive in class and irritated other participants. After one month, she began to participate but would frequently leave the class mid session. After three months her attendance was stable and she began to express her enjoyment of certain activities such as healing touch. She said, “I only come to the class that makes me peaceful from the inside.” This was her breakthrough; from that point onward, she came regularly to class and she gradually reduced the anger she felt inside. She said, “DMT is very important because it is helpful for me and others. When I went to class on a regular basis, I felt less angry and I was able to stay together with everyone. But since I stopped going because of health reasons, I have started facing these problems. I enjoy the class also because I can release my inner problems and ego. For example, one day I was very depressed and through a rhythm activity in DMT class, I was able to release my feelings. I felt I needed this class and now, that I don’t need counseling because, through dance, I can release my pain.”

Her healing process continues and she has shown the desire to become a DMT trainer. She joined our Training Of Trainer programme to become Dance Movement Therapy Trainer.


“I was timid and never spoke much, I have learnt to speak and how to stop crying.” Antara
“When the two girls returned from Kolkata Sanved’s first phase of Training of Trainers in Dance Movement Therapy, we at Sthree requested them to share over the first three days their learning’s.

After viewing all their learning’s, we were so impressed with both of them, especially Antara( name changed to maintain confidentiality), who has grown in confidence tenfold, has such beautiful grace in her body movements and now speaks….and is also less shy and inhibited. We are amazed at what has happened to her in those 15 days and thank Sohini and Sanved for making such a big difference in her life. Antara took the initiative and has been continuously training the girls in the shelter. She is working with 15 girls here. We are confident Antara can do this by herself and we are proud to have her as our Sthree DMT trainer. The DMT classes have been going well as you can see with the Sthree girls who really enjoy them. We are very pleased to see the progress being made here and hope to imbibe these learning’s into the lives of more and more of survivors,” Ms. Hema Bedi(Director of Sthree, Hyderabad)



“I am appearing for my board exams. I can vision my life according to my capability. I have understood how to overcome the hurdles in my life.”


Nargis, a 15 year old girl, lives in a village in 24 Parganas (South) with her family. She is continuing her studies overcoming obstacles on her way and has appeared for the final school leaving examinations this year. She has been engaged in a relation recently facing opposition from her family on it. The problems noticed in her were – shyness, dominant fear factor visible in her body language, no eye-contact and constant oppression by family. This resulted in tremendous aggression,anger and continuous internal conflict. Nargis has developed tremendous possessiveness towards her belongings followed by destructive attitude.


In spite of having lot of inhibitions towards dancing, she joined the DMT class hoping to gather strength and confidence from the sessions. Nargis is extremely self-conscious as observed during the DMT sessions when she would be conscious of whether others were watching her. In the first three months her movements were very limited, from the fourth month she started responding and the focus was kept to develop her eye contact and to resume her, self trust. A lot of work on rhythm was done with her as well as anger release and one to one session was also conducted with her .Now she is able to perform and takes the initiative on her own to participate in her youth group to raise awareness on child marriage. Participation level has increased and she is also able to take decisions on her own. According to her if she never attended DMT then she would not be able to discover and develop herself. Anger management is visible.
She no longer has the destructive attitude. She recently participated in the video workshop and also directed her own film which focused on how she overcame the hurdles within her.


Background history: Phulki is from Dinhata in Coochbehar. Phulki has father, step mother and step-brothers and step-sisters. Phulki has been a neglected and abused child at home. Phulki always felt unloved and uncared by her step mother and her children. She used to be severely beaten up by them. Phulki started working as a domestic help in other people’s houses from a very early age. One day, while she was going to work, a boy trapped her and asked her to drink something which made her unconscious. Then that boy and his five friends gang- raped her. Later Phulki, with the help of another girl, identified all the six boys and got them arrested by the police. They are in jail now. Phulki lives in safe custody.

Vulnerabilities: The bitterness she has faced in her life and the trauma of being raped has made Phulki incapable of trusting people. Phulki often becomes violent or retracts to complete silence.

Change: When Phulki started coming to DMT sessions, she used to sit in a quiet corner. The principle of DMT session is based on inclusion where people have every right to participate in whichever way they like to. If they don’t want to participate, it’s okay. They can just be in the class and sit quietly. First few days, Phulki used to sit in the class and not participate. Phulki used to think herself as a ‘bad girl’ or ‘nashta meye’, literally meaning someone who is rotten. Gradually, Phulki started participating. When DMT trainers used to work with Phulki, they used to make her feel comfortable with her body. She was told that it was not her fault that she has been raped. The boys are the criminals who broke her trust. Phulki has regained lot of courage and strength today. Recently, she did an awesome performance during the event in Coochbehar.

Testimonial: “I didn’t know what to do. I was lost in a world of grief. The Didis (Trainers) from Kolkata Sanved used to talk to me. They are the first persons with whom I could talk without any fear of being misunderstood or judged. They have helped me in bringing back my faith.”


*All names have been changed to maintain confidentiality of the individuals