Rosa has lived in Camden since the age of 5 and is the founder of Survivors Can Shine. She grew up in an abusive environment, abused by her primary caregiver. She went to bed in fear and woke up in fear, silenced by her abuser through shame, guilt, fear and a misplaced need to protect her.
Although signs of abuse were clearly evident, she was labelled a 'Problem Child' and passed on from one school to the next. She could not concentrate in class or relate to other children as she had long since become an adult. No one asked questions and she was too afraid to tell. She found through music, dance and drama she was able to express herself. She didn't realise then, just how important these forms of expression would be in helping her survive her childhood.
Aged fourteen, Rosa ran away from home to escape her abuser. She thought the worst was behind her, she did not know that you cannot hide from trauma. This led her down endless paths of self-destruction as she attempted to suppress the painful memories.
Both Rosa and her brother, a Deputy Head Teacher and Child Protection Worker, suffer from lifelong physical and mental health conditions medically linked to trauma. In 2017, they finally spoke out and took their abuser to court seeking justice and accountability for the abuse they suffered at her hands. Their mother was acquitted of all charges. Rosa took to social media, reaching out to other survivors and organisations who raise awareness of child abuse and the systemic injustices which fail so many.
Rosa is a strong campaigner and has worked with organisations across the UK raising awareness and supporting survivors of abuse. She has given talks on her lived experience and the impact of childhood trauma at universities and safeguarding conferences. She is an active member of the forum for the Truth Project and has contributed to the review of victims’ law held by the Victims Commissioner for London. Rosa was appointed Child Abuse Ambassador for ‘Respect Yourself’, a charity providing advocacy and support for young people.
Through her work Rosa saw the pattern of abuse, trauma and predictable outcomes related to mental and physical health. She was shocked by the lack of open conversation and opportunity for children to speak out and be heard. She founded Survivors Can Shine to lift the taboo on speaking about abuse and break the silence that abusers rely on. She created the I Shine, Speak Out Safeguarding programme to provide a platform to empower children and celebrate their voices. Leading with a multi-agency approach and establishing transparency between services, her mission is to ensure that no child is left without a voice.
'I no longer feel ashamed or that I have to hide from my childhood, the determination I had to survive as a child is what gave me the strength I have to continue today.'
Cath is an Education Safeguarding Officer working alongside social workers and supporting schools in safeguarding their communities. Cath worked for over 20 years in primary education within the South London area as an Inclusion Manager and Assistant Head.
She describes the most significant impact within her teaching career as a safeguarding lead. Cath recognised the stress school staff face on a daily basis, balancing safeguarding along with fulfilling curriculum and OFSTED requirements. She specialises in childhood trauma (ACES) and the impact of domestic abuse on children.
Through working within education and children's social care Cath soon recognised the need for more explicit teaching and age appropriate learning opportunities around child abuse. After meeting Rosa and hearing about Survivors Can Shine, Cath saw this as the opportunity to use her knowledge and expertise, to help develop the 'I Shine, Speak Out' Safeguarding programme, with the aim to help as many children 'speak out, be heard, be safe'.
A graduate in performing arts with a wealth of experience in mentoring and co-facilitating workshops for children and young people, Montana represents young people's voices on the board of directors.
Montana has taught theatre in inner city schools and run drama therapy workshops at young offenders' institutions.
She is a member of performance group So La Flair, a solid group of young women pushing boundaries of storytelling to disrupt and dismantle dominant discourses of race, gender, sexuality and class. The group's touring show sold out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2022.
Montana has a passionate belief in the power of performing arts to act as a catalyst for young people to develop responsibility and pride in their own creativity, amplify their voices on issues that matter to them, and create social change.
Pariss is a great asset to Survivors Can Shine.
She graduated from the University of Leeds and is determined in pursuing a career in Law. During her time at university, she ran a dance society of over 150 members.
Her performing arts background combined with her professionalism makes her a charismatic and engaging spokesperson for Survivors Can Shine.
Pariss has previous experience volunteering with other charities that aim to improve childhoods and create happier homes.
Within Survivors Can Shine, she assists with event planning and management, helping with creative visions, and uses her academic background to perform administrative tasks. Pariss recently appeared on GB News live, alongside our Founder, Rosa, for an important discussion with Sir Alastair Stewart OBE on child abuse.
With lived experience, having witnessed first-hand the effects of child abuse and its potential to ruin lives, Pariss is incredibly understanding, empathetic and compassionate. She has personally overcome much adversity during her childhood and believes having a good support network is crucial. She is extremely passionate about giving back to children and improving the lives of those who have been victims of abuse.
We are proud to have Pariss as an Ambassador for Change!
Gifty is an experienced leader with over 10 years’ experience of managing services and teams within children and young people services. She is committed to improving outcomes for children and families through early help to statutory interventions.
Gifty has a sound knowledge and understanding of the needs of young people and unaccompanied asylum seekers inclusive, sexual exploitation, offending/gangs and mental health.
She has experience of line management and consultancy support of social workers, overseeing the allocation, monitoring of work, ensuring high quality response, analysis, decision making, planning and review in place.
Gifty brings over 20 years’ experience of social work and youth work to the Board.
"I feel privileged to be a board member for Survivors Can shine as I believe in its vision and mission of helping children, and victims of all types of abuse to have a voice. This is of greater significance in light of continuous failures of services over the last decade resulting in sadly children and their families not being heard and unnecessary loss of life. It gives me great pleasure to give back to a grassroots organisation like this, I have every confidence in Rosa and her Ambassadors to drive the organisation reaching out to children and young people through schools and the community, positively impacting lives and creating much needed change".
Charles is the CEO of a London-wide non-profit, 2TR Football, which delivers life and employability skills for young people, through a vibrant and inclusive new football game called 2-Touch Rulz. He has over 20 years' experience of working with diverse groups of young people.
Charles loves bringing communities together, and supporting young people to achieve great physical and mental health. His goal is to ensure that every child can have a positive path in life through skills, training and employment opportunities.
Charles is passionate about safeguarding and protecting the rights of children and young people. He's a great advocate for our mission of keeping children's voices at the forefront so that no child is left without a voice.
Survivors Can Shine welcomes Charlie's expertise in project management, strategic planning, marketing and PR to our board.
Marsha Hutton, also known by the alias Empress Star Love, is a Spoken Word Artist and an expert by lived experience. She expresses herself through her lyrics and is passionate about creating positive change through her music. It is a great privilege to have Marsha on our team and grow with us as an organisation. She joined Survivors Can Shine over 2 years ago, during this time she has recorded and performed our 'I Shine, We Shine' track, played a key role in our Ambassador for Change community events, and has gone on to complete numerous courses, such as, Advanced Safeguarding, Project Management, NGO training,
Team Leading and Youth Mental Health First Aid. As one of our senior Ambassadors for Change, Marsha demonstrates how you can shine through adversity and be an inspiration to others.
"It is a pleasure to be involved with the organisation, I have had the opportunity to learn new skills and the work I am doing with Survivors Can Shine has helped me to recognise my strength and self-worth, I have also gained confidence in my abilities as a mother. My son loves taking part in the workshops and the walk and talk sessions with Sunny the therapy dog. I have seen such positive changes in his behaviour since he has become an Ambassador for change. I am excited to see what the future holds for the organisation, I know great things are on the horizon. I'm proud to bring my experience and skill sets to the board and I am committed to using my voice to raise awareness and empower children and young people."
Amanda is Head of NHS GP Express and NHS Relationships Manager. She leads innovative projects, changing the way that NHS healthcare is delivered. Improving accessibility to patients and alleviating pressure on General Practitioners and A&E. She combines experience from working in both public & private sectors.
Amanda is a Trauma Recovery Mentor. She is passionate about early intervention and prevention and implementing a trauma informed approach across both primary care and public sectors to improve long-term physical and mental health outcomes for children and young people who have suffered adverse childhood experiences.
Amanda is qualified in Forensic Science and is a McKenzie Friend/Court Advocate; she has extensive experience in supporting families navigating their way through complex and lengthy family court proceedings.
Amanda is also a songwriter, producer, and professional voice artist. She plays an active role in the organisation and is dedicated to supporting the work of Survivors Can Shine. She brings a wealth of experience and diverse skill set to the board.
Miranda has over 20 years’ experience working with children from diverse backgrounds, in a range of childcare settings from nurseries to Pupil Referral Units. As a young adult she trained as a peer motivator for 13–19-year-olds in Camden.
Her professional roles include Early Educator and Learning Support Assistant, facilitating children with additional needs to access the curriculum. She recently gained a BA in Early Childhood Studies.
Miranda is passionate about putting the child’s voice at the centre of her work, reinforcing positive behaviour. She employs a therapeutic approach to build trust with children who may have experienced abuse or neglect, supporting their mental health and helping them to develop a sense of belonging and self-worth.
As a Parents Volunteer Champion, Miranda has helped families to access local services and make connections in their communities.
Miranda has Makaton training, a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. She’s also an experienced singer/song-writer. Survivors Can Shine are excited that Miranda’s wide range of communication skills will support our mission: to ensure that every child has a voice.
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