When S.* came to Seeds of Hope, she was at one of the lowest points of her life. After losing her son in childbirth, she had finally escaped from an abusive and troubled marriage. Then came months of court battles to try to bring her older twin daughters home with her to Jericho.
She was granted custody, but could not take her daughters out of the country where they lived without her ex-husband’s consent and a letter giving her permission. After continuous threats from her husband, her family went and brought her back to Jericho to save her life. Unfortunately, she was forced to leave her daughters behind. Devastated, she returned to Jericho to seek refuge with her family, rebuild her life, and find another way to reunite with her daughters.
When a woman gets divorced in middle eastern culture—regardless of the reason—it comes with a lot of shame. They are looked down on by others, have very little power or rights, and must return to live with their parents. They can only work or remarry with their families’ approval. For S., like many other women in the middle east, it was a huge blow to her self-esteem and identity. Not to mention the incredible grief she was dealing with at losing one child and being separated from the other two.
Thankfully, S. got connected with Seeds of Hope and began working as a teaching assistant in our preschool. The job became her haven. She found a supportive team of coworkers who didn’t look down on her or judge her for her past. For the first time in many years, she found people who believed in her and wanted to help her grow.
When our preschool principal, Janet, needed someone to fill in for a teacher going on maternity leave, she offered the job to S. “I saw potential in her,” said Janet. “She took the initiative and was creative in her teaching methods. The children love her so much.”
S. was astonished by the offer. After years of being doubted and undervalued, she was shocked to find that someone like Janet and the people at Seeds of Hope believed in her and trusted her with something so important. She was able to open up to Janet as a trusted friend and start to rebuild her sense of self-worth and confidence.
In the time since S. has continued to fight for custody of her children. She’s been dealt one heartbreaking blow after another. She’s traveled several times thinking she would at least be able to see them, only to have her ex-husband keep them from her. But through the struggle, she’s had the supportive team at Seeds of Hope surrounding her with love.
“It feels like there is endless love in her heart,” Janet said of S. and her perseverance through all her pain. “She pours all her love and compassion into our children. I know she sees her twin daughters and son in their eyes.”
This is just one example of the countless women who may be judged or underestimated by society but find refuge at Seeds of Hope. From our Shine Women’s Program to how we hire and work together as a staff, we want to be a place where women can find purpose and know that they are valued and respected. And in all we do, we want to continue to spread the hope, love, and joy we have, even in the midst of people’s darkest situations.
*Name withheld to protect her identity.