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She wishes her mother was still alive

Today i met a young woman and her story just broke my heart. I could not control the tears from rolling down my eyes. Hadijah is a 24 year old woman who has two children. Her first born is ten years and her second born is 7 years. She was married off at the age of 13. Her father up to today does not believe in education for girls. She is the last born form her mother. Her mother Hajat Salima had six children , 3 girls and 3 boys.

Hadijah tells me that her mother was subjected to domestic violence in her marriage for a very long time. She says her mother left her father when Hadijah was about 6 months old. She grew up with her mother and saw the scars on her mother's body. Her mother was mistreated by her husband to the extent that she had half a left ear. Hadijah claims that her father at one point cut off half of her mother's ear. Her mother fell sick and she was admitted in hospital for over 6 months and eventually she passed away when Hadijah was 12 years. Her father came to bury his wife and after the burial he took Hadijah with him. His intention was not to look after her but to give her away so that he could receive dowry.

When she found out what the father was up to, she tried to resist but one of her brothers warned her against it and told her that her elderly sister also tried to resist the father's wishes, and he tied her and put her to sit in ants. She was injured so badly that she was admitted in hospital. Out of fear Hadijah accepted and went head with the marriage. At the age of 14 she had her first child. She tells me that from day one her husband was mistreating her but she decided to be a submissive wife because the father told her that she should not go back home. When she got pregnant with her second child, her husband started mistreating her. He got a second wife and never used to return home. He claimed that he was not responsible for the pregnancy and told her to leave his home. She went to stay with her sister and after giving birth she decided to go back to her husband's home because she did not want to bother her relatives with such a big burden. She tells me that she did not have money for salt or candles to light up the house at night. She says that she used to use her hands to check and feel if the baby had defecated on the bed.

She used to cry at night and many nights she would sleep angry with her children. One day she decided to go and stay with her elder sister and his husband. While she was there, she met another man who seemed to be very loving and caring. She decided to go and stay with him together with her baby. She stayed with him for four years and she was not conceiving so the man decided to chase her away and get another woman. So she went back to her sister's house and decided to move to the city to get a job as a house maid to able to look after her children whom she had left with her sister.

She was fortunate to get a good family who were paying her well and she was comfortable. After working for 7 months she asked for two weeks to go and see her children and her sister. When she went to the village she paid the school fees for her children and and did their shopping for school. The night before she traveled back to the city her daughter was knocked down by motorcycle and the man did not stop, he just rode off. Her daughter broke the leg at the hip and had to be admitted in hospital. She was stranded. Her boss was a very understanding lady who told her that her job will be waiting for her and that she should take all the time she needed to look after her daughter. Hadijah stayed with her daughter in hospital for three months with non of her brothers and sisters ever visiting her.

She one time asked her sister to sell her goat and send her the money to pay the bills in the hospital. The sister sold the goat and gave her husband to take the money to the hospital. The man never reached the hospital. When Hadijah called him, he abused her on the phone and told her to stop calling his number. She took a brave step and called her boss who was very happy to help her and sent her the money for the hospital bills as well transport back home. The day she was supposed to return back to work in the city, her brother in law stole all her money and when she tried to confront him, he told her to take her children and never ever return to his home. Or if not he will also chase way her sister together with her 8 children.

What confuses me is the way this man is acting. He has no respect for women and this is how men in the rural villages treat women. They believe women have no right to do anything and are supposed to submit to the men. Even the police who are supposed to be protecting the rights of the vulnerable groups are not doing their jobs. Hadijah fears to file a case in police because she thinks this man will kill her and her children. She has no where to go with her children. She cannot take them to the city because every thing in the city is expensive and yet she wants to go back and work because has a good boss. However her boss has children and many people she is looking after and has advised her to look for where she can leave the children before returning to work.

The father of her children has never provided her with support and does not want to know anything concerning the welfare of his children. Hadijah is confused and crying non stop. She keeps asking Allah why he took her mother away so early. She says she is abandoned in this world and the only reason she is living is because she has to look after her children and ensure that they grow up to be responsible citizens unlike their father.

Hadijah claims that her sister fears for her life and cannot help Hadiajh any more because the man might also send her out of the house with her eight children.

We offered Hadijah some money for a temporary accommodation as she calms down because at the moment she was sobbing endlessly. We also offered her some money for food for herself and her children for a week as we look for more permanent solution.

My dear sisters is there any one out there who knows where we get sponsors who can sponsor the education for this children as Hadijah settles down and looks for a house as well as get her jobs back. When we contacted her boss she was really sorry for her and claimed that her hands were also tied and she really wanted Hadijah to go back and work, because she is very hard working and dedicated worker who loved her children like her own.

Economic Power
Gender-based Violence
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