Meet Nonie Brzyski and Natalka Burian, co-founders of The Freya Project.
Nonie and Natalka are writers and activists who started The Freya Project in January of 2017. Originally galvanized by the results of the 2016 presidential election, their activism and aspirations have transformed over the past two years. Nonie and Natalka support women and non-binary people across the country by sharing their stories as well as raising money for organizations fighting for human rights.
Watch this video and read our Q&A below to get to know these two incredible women, the origins of The Freya Project, and their hopes for the future.
What inspired you to create The Freya Project?
Nonie: A desperate need to feel less powerless, to take action.
The Freya Project provides a platform for women and non-binary people to share their stories. What do you think these narratives can accomplish? How have you seen this reflected in your audiences?
Natalka: Stories are powerful--telling stories can be the first step toward building a better world. Over the last year, I've seen our audiences comforted, inspired, unsettled, and angry. All of these emotions are necessary to create and sustain change.
Nonie: I think the power in sharing stories at our events comes with the listening, with letting the audience absorb and consider a life and circumstances different than their own. Listening, rather than reading, brings the writer to life. The sound of their voice, the hesitations, the pacing, it’s almost as if they are speaking just to you. At its very best, storytelling has the ability to cross barriers and touch on universal experiences that help us understand one another.
Why did you specifically choose to have The Freya Project empower women and non-binary people and small nonprofits?
Natalka: It's no secret that, in our current political climate, many people feel unsafe. We wanted to actively work to address that feeling, to bring resources and attention to organizations that help people who do not feel safe in the United States today. We also wanted to create a support system, and to connect people in a physical space.
Where do you hope to see the Freya Project in a year?
Nonie: Hosting readings in more places across the United States, transforming our website and social media into a resource for women and non-binary people everywhere, and raising as much money as possible for as many organizations as we can.
What has been your proudest moment for the project?
Natalka: My feelings of pride about the Freya Project are always evolving. At each event, something new will surprise and inspire me, but, generally, I think our expansion to cities across the US is the most exciting. The intention for this series of fundraisers has always been to create a network of support for women and non-binary people everywhere, and the closer we get to that goal, the more thrilling it is.