March 28, 2020

Shattered inside

How my work as a social entrepreneur and anti-trafficking activist was built on unaddressed trauma.

2 min read

I became a mother as I was leading the liberation movement in my home country of the Philippines. I hid in the mountains and the military ran an endless pursuit. To keep my first-born safe, I was forced to give him to my relatives. My eldest son and I were separated for 12 years.

After five years of fighting and hiding, my husband and I were captured in a gun battle that took eight hours. I was then pregnant with my second child.  My three comrades suffered a different fate—they were killed in front of me. While the boys were kneeling, I begged for mercy. “I regret to say, madam, this is mercy killing and we are under martial law,” said my comrades’ executioner.

This is an excerpt from the article, Shattered Inside: How My Work As a Social Entrepreneur and Anti-Trafficking Activist Was Built on Unaddressed Trauma by Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda.


This article is a part of a special series on the connection between inner well-being and social change, in partnership with The Wellbeing ProjectStanford Social Innovation ReviewSchwab Foundation at the World Economic Forum, and Skoll Foundation.

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Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation is dedicated to expanding the impact of successful social innovations by empowering the social entrepreneurs behind them. The Foundation works across six issue areas: economic opportunity, education, environmental sustainability, health, peace and human rights, and sustainable markets. Each year, they present select social entrepreneurs with the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship—a USD 1.25 million three-year investment in their organisations, to help them scale and deepen their impact.