Meet our survivors who have become our friends. They are strong and are willing to work hard to move past their oppression. They have hopes and dreams and children they want to give a better life. Read their stories below.
Dawn is woman from the Middle East who is a legal permanent resident here in the United States. Her husband was unfaithful, verbally and physically abusive for many years before he fled the country with another woman, leaving her to care for her three children, all under the age of 5. She initially fled to a local homeless shelter until she moved into a temporary home provided by a nonprofit in Fairfax, VA. She worked very hard as a food service worker in a local hospital, but eventually was fired, citing her poor language skills and inability to work flexible hours as the reason.
After purchasing a used car from a "friend", that wouldn't even accommodate the carseat and booster seats for her kids, it lasted only one month before dying in the middle of the highway. This made it challenging to get her chldren to school and daycare and then to work, all by bus or other public transportation. When estimates to repair her car came in at $3000 (more than she paid for it), My Friend Mayvis was able to purchase her a used van that was in solid working condition. When Dawn brought the "new" car home to her kids, her oldest son (5 yrs old) said, "Oh momma, no more stinky car!".
Dawn is now in an English as a Second Language program, and studying to get her GED. She just loves her English classes and is meeting new people and finding new open doors. She's been accepted for section 8 housing and she'll continue to work and learn new skills in order to support her beautiful three children. For the first time in many months, she tells me she has hope for her future knowing that her hard work, as well as friends and supporters, will help her through.
Simple tools can make all the difference. With simple tools, like a hammer and saw for carpentry, or a shovel and rake for gardening, skilled hands can make all sorts of things great and small, like a cradle for a newborn baby or a vegetable garden planted to feed a family. Simple tools also enable access, without which doors remain closed and opportunities remain missed. Simple tools like public transport, phones, and Internet connections are basic necessities for people to connect and communicate, to fill out forms and track down information, to do homework and apply for jobs, to hear the news and learn about all things wise and wonderful. And without simple tools, many challenges of life are that much harder and that much more time-consuming to overcome. All this is why, when we connected up with Dawn, a struggling mother of three, we weren’t surprised to learn that what she really wanted most was a simple tool: a computer with Internet access for her family at home.
Dawn is a client of My Friend Mayvis Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping women and children facing domestic violence and the myriad impacts that this has on family life. Dawn is a hard-working woman with three children under the age of six. A short time ago, her husband abused her and then fled the country to avoid arrest. Without any resources of their own, Dawn and her children moved into a homeless shelter before transitioning into low-income housing. With limited English skills and no documents proving her qualifications, Dawn is struggling to find work that will support her family.
To start, Dawn must obtain a GED in order to gain meaningful employment. Of course, this means that Dawn needs to study while also working on a job search, managing her home and raising her kids alone with very limited income and an absent father. When My Friend Mayvis first connected with Dawn this spring, her basic, practical request was for a simple computer and Internet access at home that would enable her to move forward on all these things.
Upon hearing of her need, the TMI and My Friend Mayvis Foundations teamed up to help Dawn out. In April, TMI Foundation donated a refurbished laptop for Dawn to have at home. This simple tool is truly a godsend for Dawn, giving her direct access to study for the GED, research and apply for jobs, as well as have the basic connectivity that we all need to get things done efficiently and effectively for our families. My Friend Mayvis is paying for Dawn’s Internet connection at home as well as providing the much-needed guidance for bringing her family through the trauma of domestic violence.
At TMI and My Friend Mayvis Foundations, we feel fortunate and thankful to have had the opportunity to walk alongside Dawn and her children by providing them with these simple tools. May they be blessed with all things bright and beautiful in the years to come!
Eve is a young woman who came to our country with her husband, who works for an international organization. After treating her like a slave and isolating her, he beat her up one day and tried to force her to leave the country and send her home. She fled at the airport and called a distant relative that lived in the area. Her relative came to pick her up and Eve lived with her for many months while we tried to help her file for spousal support and help her change her dependency visa status. During this time, her husband went back to his home country and obtained a divorce by simply saying "I divorce you" three times. He never informed her of the divorce until she requested spousal support and attempted divorce him here in the United States. My Friend Mayvis attempted to help her get a student visa and to obtain spousal support, but at the hearing, the judge felt she could not grant in her favor because the husband had already obtained a divorce. I was in the courtroom with her for both court hearings, and I it is my feeling that the judge could tell her husband was a sneaky human being, but in the end, her hands were tied. Defeated and exhausted, Eve opted to go home, back to her country and family.