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Empowerment!

Last week I was busy with preparations of an empowerment project of female imigrants in NL in the city where I live. During the briefing I had an honour to chat with 2 women, 1 from Afghanistan and 1 from Iran.

The Afghan woman is a last year medical student. She came to NL because of her marriage with a Dutch-Afghan man. I was really inspired by her story. First thing I asked her when I learned that she was a medical student was, how the hell she could follow the lessons. OK, Taliban is not in power anymore but remains of its dogma is still present in the head of an average Afghan man. So women are still not allowed to do some things. The lessons were held in her professor house, at night. She would get a text message (long live technology!) when a lesson would be given. Besides following lessons at night, she managed to get a job as an interpreter at Oxfam. During her task at Oxfam she came in contact with her current husband. The rest is history. She came to NL & is now determined to finish her medical study. She is an intelligent young lady with a very good knowledge of English (mine was really bad comparing with her).

Now the story of the Iranian. She came here to wed a man which she barely knew. 6 years ago she bared him a baby girl but the husband started to abuse her. She couldn’t stand it & was brave enough to divorce him. Now, she is a divorced woman with a child, tries to make ends meet monthly with an income from government support. In september she would start with a year training to be a certified employe at a daycare. She thinks she can combine this job and also be able to take care of her daughter. She revealed to me that Iranian society here disrespects her due to her status. A divorced woman is not worth even a glance when they meet her at the market.

This project is launched to stimulate imigrant women to explore themselves. The two short stories above are examples of those who already have known what they want to reach. And what about us? Women who live in freedom. We tend to take the freedom for granted while the achievements of our predecessors are very precious to throw away.

5 thoughts on “Empowerment!

  1. Oh man! Gak kepikir ya betapa susah hidup para wanita di Afghanistan jaman Taliban dulu.

    Disini program model begitu juga lagi digalakkan, bedanya kalo disini emang banyak wanita dari daerah Timur Tengah/Afrika yang emang di “abuse” suaminya, dipukulin, gak boleh bekerja, dilarang ini itu dsb.

  2. Lorraine,

    There were a couple of times I met a lot of Indonesian migrant workers at the airport waiting for their flight to take them out of Indonesia. Judging from their appearances (most of them wearing jilbab), I assumed they would be sent to Malaysia or Arab countries. Some talked to each other, some could not hide their nervousness as I watched them frequent the bathrooms a couple of times. These women all shared one thing in common namely “poverty”. Many of them do not know what will happen when they landed in the new place. A lot do not know how to speak the language of their new home, let alone know their rights when they got abused. They are forgotten heroes for our economy in Indonesia. They may be not smart brain wise, but they are still women who do make changes.

  3. Stories of immigrants are mostly inspiring. I especially like ones like this: educated hard working women and (almost) successful in the new country.

  4. @ the writer, bagus deh kalo di DK juga ada proyek begini.

    @ Elyani, the TKW’s are surely a precious asset for Indonesian economy although they are sometimes not considered as ones. They definitely make change, their desire to provide themselves & family a better life by working abroad despite some sad cases have happened.

    @ Santi, those two cases in the entry are meant to be an eye opener for women in particular, thus not only female immigrants. It is not about working women but women who come up for their rights and being assertive.

  5. Pingback: A note to women all over the world « Chez Lorraine

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