Inspiring women are not necessarily seen in the movies. They can sit right next to you. I’ve found this out just recently during the Women 2 Women Erasmus project, and I will show you why:
Imagine you are a social worker and the man who’s standing in front of you has just told you his family’s story traveling through Syria, Libya or Sudan, facing war, sexual abuses, and even murder. Imagine this man has lost his mother and the loved ones on their way to Europe, making their hostile journey with the hope of a better life.
Now imagine your mom calls you during this conversation you have with this man. You don’t pick up the phone. Your mom insists and, finally, you decide to answer and the first thing you hear is her crying out loud, telling you that your dog has just died. You burst into tears. But then would you tell the man in front of you about your loss or not?
Monia, one of the social workers who is taking care of the refugees in Sicily, has had the power not to.
Her story has taught me so much on the strengths and powers women have and how much love they can spread.
Her story has taught me so much on reconsidering my personal sorrows and even made me ashamed of the so-called 1stworld problems that I sometimes face.
Is it a drama if I have no phone battery?
Is it a drama if I can’t find the WI-FI password?
Is it a drama if I can’t afford the last iPhone released?
Or is it a drama if … (insert whatever reason you may feel sad about)?
Probably not! If you have some empathy in front of the refugees’ fears, war tensions, murders witnessing, long time starving or diseases, while waiting for Europe to open its doors to receive them.
During 4 days in Portugal, I have heard so many inspiring stories that gave me hope, so I totally reconsidered my life.
Monia, Amira, Alma and other good-hearted women from Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, France, Portugal, Austria dedicate their time and energy to help refugees or other migrants across Europe, by providing them with shelters and information, from documents to basic language skills and information on their rights, to get integrated into their new communities.
For me, it’s been a week full of kindness, intercultural experiences – from self-cooked meals to music – and, most importantly, I take home the hope that the world would be a better place if women get more involved in the decision-making processes than simply mitigating the consequences of the world political decisions.
In the end, I will let with you what Alma (Muslim woman living in Sweeden) has said:
We go to school, we grow, we take care of our brothers and sisters,
We get married, we take care of our husband,
We give birth, we take care of our children,
But when do we take care of ourselves?
I believe this is the most important lesson that I have learned during these days in Portugal for the WOMEN 2 WOMEN project. Take good care of yourself to be able to help others – either family, neighbors or even refugees – and then you can start changing the world!
Thank you SOCIAL DOers for this wonderful experience and all the participants who do amazing things!