Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dressember: A Survivor's Story


She Thought She'd Have a Better Life

Nina* and her boyfriend traveled to Greece with Nina’s child to find work and financial support. As unemployment in Bulgaria is so high, they thought they would have a better chance of finding work in Greece.

Soon after arriving in Greece, Nina’s boyfriend forced her into prostitution, threatening her physical well-being and the well being of her child if she did not comply. Nina was arrested by the police for prostitution, and after hearing her story, they referred her to The A21 Campaign (Greece’s Crisis Care Shelter). 

Nina was pregnant when she came into A21 care. She came back to Bulgaria with her child and moved into the A21 Transition Home in Sofia. There, our social workers cared for her throughout her pregnancy, and she gave birth to a healthy child. Once the baby was two months old, A21 moved Nina into her own apartment. She was fully financially supported by A21 for a number of months. 

Once the social workers discovered Nina could knit, A21 started a small business selling her knitted scarves. We now have six women knitting scarves, and Nina has been promoted to part-time supervisor, overseeing the quality of the product and teaching new women to knit. Nina is now on her way to financial independence. 

Finding work for women with children is incredibly important in Bulgaria, as child-care normally does not start until a child is two years old. For a single woman with a child who cannot return to her family or hometown, this means that she is basically without an income until her child is two years old. This Scarf Company will provide work for many women who would otherwise live fully dependent on an NGO or on the poverty line (government benefits are minimal).
*Survivors' names and photos are changed for their protection.

Sharing stories like these are important. It's important for us to remember that not everyone has life experiences like ours. It's important to know that we can help and give more. It's important to know what donations to Dressember can do. 

Dressember is about a lot more than dresses. It's about leveraging what we have, to do what we can, to change the world for the 92 million people living in slavery today. It's about realizing that if we live and work in America, we're more wealthy than billions of others across the globe. It's about giving out of our wealth to help those who have nothing, not even their own lives.

Stories like these reaffirm why I choose to participate in Dressember, why I spend the month advocating, why I join with others in doing what I can with what I have. Because in my little corner of the internet, I have a voice, I have a few dollars, I have talents, and I have time. And I can give of all those things to help someone else.

Will you consider doing what you can with what you have? Will you help us fight for freedom and dignity for those trapped in slavery? Will you donate to Dressember? Will you tell your friends about the campaign by sharing this link? https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/elisemance

You can read more about A21's work here.

The content of this blog post was provided by the Dressember Foundation.

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