The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all hear hardships in life have had on her; but the strength of a woman is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes
C. Joybell C
I recently started working in an organisation that works to empower women in vulnerable situations by providing them with training and work opportunities. Although there are days I find myself tired and stressed out I absolutely LOVE working there and I am constantly in awe of the women I work with.
Some of these women have had to give up their lives as high-flying professionals and move to a country where their inability to speak in English has left them unemployed and in a state of both financial and emotional dependency. Some of them have faced brutal violence and have been left out on the streets with nothing except the clothes that they are wearing at the time. Others have faced the harsh and disgusting reality of being in detention centers for months (some years) before they can settle in a country where they are treated as the “other” (or “aliens” as some governments like to label them”).
Regardless of their circumstances, these women have boundless resilience and the motivation to not only dream big but do everything in their power to achieve every single one of those dreams. They don’t like to be shackled by their past or even their current circumstances, they don’t dwell on how life has dealt them an unfair hand of cards and they are so full of enthusiasm to learn new things.
I remember having a conversation with one of the women about her journey to being financially independent and she said to me ‘at my first market I sold something for 50 cents…I was SO happy someone actually gave money for something I made! So I went home and made six more items to sell!’ (See what I mean about enthusiasm). On most occasions they would travel for two hours on public transport, to sit at a market for 6 hours only to sell maybe $25 and instead of being grumpy they usually have the biggest smiles and say “better than 0!” These women, who used to be lecturers, journalists, engineers, will talk about how they are so happy they have their current job as a cleaner because a steady income would help them save money to send their kids to school (you rarely hear complaints even on days when their backs are aching from the 10 hours of cleaning they do per day).
Working with these women and hearing their journeys have opened my eyes to how lucky and privileged I am to have the life I do. Everyday I am in awe of these women and how they have managed to turn their lives around on their own. Since I have met them I have gained a greater sense of awareness about true resilience and perseverance.
They are true defenders of the silver lining.