Sept. 25 OWL Global Wisdom Circle

September 25 OWL Global Wisdom Circle: Sonya Shah

A monthly video-circle for sharing wisdom, experience and support among global citizens everywhere.

Justice that Heals
How can we each, in our own communities, help bring healing to the one that Gandhi called “the last girl in the village?”

Sonya Shah, social justice facilitator, professor, teacher, and community healer, has decades of experience teaching and facilitating restorative justice practices in schools, prison settings, communities, and in her own family. She is immersed in seeding restorative justice and trauma healing modalities locally and nationally, and ending the charity-based model of working in “marginalized” communities. Her experiences as a survivor of child sexual abuse are critical to her analysis and approach to this work.

In 2015 Sonya founded Project Ahimsa, aimed at ending sexual abuse of children.

To end child sexual abuse, we must generate strategies for prevention, healing and cessation of child sexual abuse from the perspectives of directly impacted people—those who have committed child sexual abuse and those who have experienced child sexual abuse—and the emergent dialogue between them.

Sonya is an Associate Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). She earned a BA from Brown University and an MA in Film & Video from the Art Institute of Chicago, was awarded the prestigious Fulbright fellowship and Jacob Javitz fellowship. In conjunction with her work in the restorative/criminal justice field, she’s spoken on various radio programs including NPR, BBC, KPFA, and KQED.

In describing her work, Sonya says:

Gandhiji had a saying—that we should be creating policy for the last girl in the last village and then we’ll have equity. I feel like that’s the nexus of where I work/live— in the U.S.A the last girl is sometimes the man sitting in solitary, sometimes the small child being abused by her mother … and sometimes that family dangerously crossing the U.S./Mexico border with nothing in their pockets… I don’t think I have the right to talk about anyone else’s suffering, what I can talk about is my experience of witnessing suffering and transcendence in the most extreme places and what it teaches us about the human condition, in particular why we harm each other. And I can talk about what it teaches me about myself.

More about Sonya Shah at


Sonya: Working with men in prison


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