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Lessons learned from those we’re teaching

04 Nov 2009, by elance programmer in Uncategorized

Posted by Adria Doll

Last week, one girl came to work badly bruised and cut up. We learned that in the middle of the night she had been beaten up by a person in her household (she lives in a slum area) and had been kicked out of her house. The reasoning behind this abuse, as is common, was entirely illogical and a pitiful attempt to validate the idea that women are lesser and disposable. Naturally, the staff immediately arranged a safe place for her to stay until her turn on the waiting list for a working woman’s hostel comes up.

About four days later, her abuser calls us…seemingly apologetic and guilty…wanting to see her again. We struggled over whether or to tell her about the call, all along knowing we would have to as these decisions ultimately have to be hers. When we told her about the phone call and what the person had expressed, she very clearly stated that she did not want to speak with the person, did not want to go back to the home, and did not want the person to know where she worked or was staying. This unexpected response from a women who has suffered abuse for a great deal of her life was just the first of many surprises.

The next day the the abuser called us again. This time, the girl “Maggie”, decided to talk directly on the phone. She informed the person that she would only return to retrieve her belongings, to quit calling her as she would initiate contact if she desired, and to leave the staff at her workplace and supporting NGO alone. She also stated with confidence that she would continue to be a good Muslim girl, that she wouldn’t do anything to damage her name, and would keep her dignity. There have been no more phone calls or attempted contact.

Maggie, however, is still surprising us. She doesn’t spend days hating this person. Instead she prays for them. She is moving forward in her work and learning as much as she can. We started English lessons with the women at Destiny and Maggie is already asking for some lessons in basic grammar. She is excited about learning basic computer skills as we will begin some training on Saturday. And she was telling me this in English. This, a young woman, who two weeks ago, would hardly look at me, let along speak in English! She is amazing, and we are so proud of her. Maggie is an inspiration to us all. She is exemplifying the very reasons this NGO exists and becoming the very thing we hope for.

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