Healing through Sharing
While finishing his degree at York University, Mulugeta began volunteering for the Canadian Center for Victims of Torture (CCVT) during the weekends, until a volunteer coordinator position opened in 1990.
Working at CCVT has provided Mulugeta with opportunities for self-healing, and restoring his self-esteem, through sharing his experiences with the center’s clients. “I know that the people that come here are survivors of torture. It gives me comfort to talk to them.. that we are on the same wavelength. They have gone through what I have gone through, all type of things, to validate my experience while at the same time also validating theirs as well.”
Twenty-seven years later, Mulugeta is now the executive director, and has expanded the center to five more locations around Toronto. “When I became executive director the two things I wanted to do was, one to heal myself,” and “to make sure the organization was stable – financially stable so it could provide the much-needed services to the people who need it.”
Five years ago, TV Ontario requested to interview Mulugeta about his experiences in Ethiopia before coming to Toronto. At that time, Mulugeta felt ready to share his story. “I was ready to talk about it, I think, I was ready to let it go. And I don’t think I would have done it if I had not worked at CCVT.”
Mulugeta speaks about his experiences at conferences. Courtesy of Mulugeta Abai.