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.