After 8 years in an abusive relationship, one day Nawrin arrived at The Redwood with her three-year-old daughter. Her ex had made plans to take their daughter to Bangladesh, estranging her from her mother. Nawrin knew they had to leave. But without support from friends and family, her options were limited:
“From my cultural background, women are not supposed to share experiences of abuse with anyone. If they do so, they are blamed, judged, humiliated in their own family and community. Sometimes you will get advice like, ‘it’s ok to stay in a domestic violent household’ and ‘it’s a test of patience.’
Fortunately, because of the community of support behind The Redwood, Nawrin and her daughter had a safe and supportive place to go.
But the process of moving into a shelter, then moving out again, isn’t easy. “When I had to leave the Redwood and go back to the community, I had no support from family or friends. I was worried about starting a new life of my own. My counsellor at the Redwood referred me to the Women On the Move Leadership program (WOTM). It was a great support for me. I was proud to be a member of the struggling single parents group. WOTM helped me to overcome my past traumas. I gained valuable knowledge on developing self-esteem, and life, leadership, and employability skills. For the first in my life, I was able to share my values, interests, and dreams with others. I had an opportunity to discover myself. It was a new beginning.” Nawrin is currently studying Business Accounting at George Brown College, something she never thought possible.
Drawing on her own strength, courage, and life experiences, educating and advocating for women’s rights is a part of Nawrin’s life: “I support women and children in my community by sharing information about violence against women and shelter services. I’ve contributed to Second Harvest and WOTM to improve and strengthen the community that has supported my growth.” With your support, many women can follow in Nawrin’s footsteps.
“I am honored to be a part of the Redwood family. I strongly feel that The Redwood needs lots of support from us in order to help vulnerable women. I feel for this noble cause because I was once a victim myself.”