AWAKENING WOMEN – THE WOMEN’S CENTER FOR REFUGEES (PART 1 :) ) by Zoë Wild
More Exciting News!! Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from Chameli Ardagh and the women of the Awakening Women Institute – We have been able to open a center exclusively for female refugees!! The women are beside themselves with excitement, even as they have been reluctant to hope it's really true.The majority of these women are war widows and young mothers who are alone in a new country (some are single 20 year olds who live with their families). They have been forced to flee from everything they knew and loved, and are now alone in a huge city where they don't speak the language, have small children to care for, are poor and can't get work, have trauma they are dealing with, some having lost their husbands violently, they are grieving and lonely and have little but a long road of more hardship ahead of them. Many struggle with depression, despair and loneliness. I wanted to do more than provide them with temporary relief – I wanted to create some sort of sustainable community and income for these women who were sitting at home all day, disempowered and losing hope. Awakening Women Institute made that possible. The school we are working with generously offered precious space to us for this purpose, and with the donations we were able to pay a contractor to fix it up, buy enough professional sewing machines and equipment (with the help of many translators and a specialist!) to set up a learning center and workshop for them so they can make textiles and sell them or simply learn how and then work for the local industry (I have never seen so many glamorous and intricate wedding dresses in my life as in Istanbul!!). We also bought language textbooks so they can learn Turkish and have arranged for teachers to come and offer classes for free. We are also going to purchase English textbooks soon. There is also going to be a small room in which they can simply gather together and also a food distribution storage area for families in need, and we hope to set up childcare so that these women can have their children watched while they learn, as that is the most common obstacle to joining that they mention. At the new center we are creating they will find safety and a community of women like themselves, a space where their kids can be watched while they learn Turkish and English, and where they can receive therapy. All at no cost to themselves! These women have become sisters to me.. it is heartbreaking to hear what they have been through, and awe-inspiring to witness their strength. They are beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of being able to get out of their tiny homes, learn, work, be together, and engage in life again. It is a tiny bright light in the overwhelming chaos, loss, and challenges they face daily. I am headed to the coast to distribute food and clothing for a few days, and then to northern greece for a few days to provide emergency aid at the border where riots have broken out, and then to Mykonos to present at A Fest philanthropy day - an amazing conference for brilliant innovators who want to support NGOs.. Then I will return and we will purchase decorations for the space, and complete the design and implementation. We will also begin to offer some trauma workshops, and local therapists will also be working with the women. We all know the healing power of women coming together, and the incredible force of nature a group of women with a vision and a mission are. I have incredible faith in this center and the huge success these women will make of it. Awakening Women Institute - I cannot thank your community enough for the ENORMOUS difference you are making in the lives of these women. The ripple effect will be immeasurable. A deep bow and ten thousand lotus prayers to each of you. All Goddesses are One Goddess. #awakeningwomen #onelight #onefamily #onegoddess #bethechange#yeswecan #femininepower #feminineheart #globalsisterhood Infinite Love, One Light Global PS. there are explanations on all of the photos :) PPS. The principal said - "All these women used to ask me what to do - now they are just like you, they call me and say - can you have this done by tomorrow? or now? How about now? I'll wait right here. Are you training them??" Then he smiles <3 HOW CAN YOU HELP? Want to help our global sisterhood? Here are a few great ways you can make a difference: 1. Donate! New donations will go to materials for the workshop, English textbooks, bookshelves, decorations, food for distribution, etc., etc. Please specify “women” in your donation! You can also send a shipping container of supplies for the women - fabric, food, machines, etc. - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. 2. VOLUNTEER - If you are a professional and would like to come offer a workshop at the center, please contact Amy Ronn our volunteer coordinator. You will have to hire a translator and provide self - funding for your own transportation, housing and materials. There is also a possibility we can use volunteers with experience for childcare while the women are in class – I am looking into this. 3. SHINE – Raise Awareness! Share this post! Spread the word! Like us on facebook and definitely like Awakening Womens Institute as well!