Content warning: violence, including partner violence

I was scrolling through SJN’s LinkedIn notifications and saw we were tagged by Kavita Chandran. Now, Kavita is one of the best solutions journalism trainers and thinkers out there. Did she have a new course? An intriguing way of understanding SJ we’d never considered?

It was something more personal. She’d been mentoring a journalist named Hameeda Syed. Syed’s solutions story about partner violence in India — a story typically covered through the problem lens — had just been released on Article14, an Indian publication focused on justice and democracy issues. Kavita pointed out that she had learned something just from mentoring: “This story taught me about hidden issues faced by women forced into marriage in #Kashmir…. I also learned there are other women working on a solution, against all odds.”

When I congratulated them on SJN’s behalf, Syed said something even more moving: “The solutions perspective has given me the agency to craft powerful narratives of collaboration and change. I look forward to bringing more such stories from the ground to empower!” This is the power of solutions journalism: to find agency, pathways and possibility even in the darkest stories. So I’m sharing three stories (including Syed’s) that find solutions in dark places, a reminder that those bearing the weight of the problem often also possess the bittersweet strength needed to push back.

Allen Arthur
Curator of The Response

“I wanted to let them know: Your pain is normal. You’re not alone.”

New data shows success of Durham's guaranteed income program - Sarah Kreuger, WRAL-TV

Prison is about as dark as it gets. But what happened when 109 formerly incarcerated people got $600 checks each month, no questions asked? They spent their money meeting basic needs, found pathways to success and not a single person was rearrested. 

For the love of the children - Helen Ubiñas, Philadelphia Inquirer 

Moms Bounded by Grief is “a group no one wishes to be a part of,” one that wants to keep as many people from joining as possible. Together, they advocate against gun violence, having lost children (and other loved ones) themselves. But during the summer of 2021, they tested something new, taking children who’d lost family out of the city for a weekend mixing water park fun with grief counseling. 


Forced Marriage, Domestic Violence: Kashmiri Women Reach Out To A ‘Close Friend’ For Help  - Hameeda Syed, Article14

Escaping an abusive relationship can be a frightening tangle of economic, legal and personal issues. But this story reports on it uniquely. Instead of taking the typical approach of solely covering the problem, this story also introduces us to Mehram — "close friend” in Urdu — a group helping women in India’s Kashmir region find safety. They're offering everything from basic necessities like clothing to legal assistance. 

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