Global Grassroots 2011 Year-End Magazine - Page 34

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Global Grassroots 2011

supporting them to establish their own association so that they may work together to advocate for their rights, and to fight violence.

In addition, tailoring training provides vulnerable domestic workers and abused married women with economic independence. They also host debates and discussions about domestic violence in community meetings and in churches, and visit abusive employers weekly to raise awareness about their workers' rights and ensure the safety of their beneficiaries.

When Jeanine isn’t doing work for Turwubake, she generates income for her family by buying and re-selling clothes on the street. Recently, she has been so busy with Turwubake that she goes days without doing any other business. She acknowledges the sacrifice of her time, but Jeanine sees the responsibilities of life as two-part: “I have to take care of myself and my family, but I must also save time for those people I am supposed to help.” Turwubake’s beneficiaries are family, too. Jeanine has had more memorable, moving conversations with them than she can count. “One woman I talked to,” she explains, “told me that her husband undervalues her and does

not respect her because she has to ask him for everything. Even a candle – everything that is needed in her family.” The woman was overjoyed to hear about Turwubake’s plans and activities. She expressed her hopeful excitement that if she made a little money sewing, she would have the power and independence to stand up to her husband.

“Talking to people and sharing their experiences,” Jeanine says, “is sometimes painful because they may tell you something that is very sad, and you feel pity for them. But sometimes it can make you happy, because they choose you to trust with their secret. This empowers you to listen carefully to them and then try to see what you and your team must do to remove those people’s pain.”

It’s a tough battlefield – between peace and pain – that Jeanine and her team are charging in their fight against gender-based violence. But they’re a well armed bunch.

“I think I have been trained to be an abitangira abandi [change agent] all my life.”

photo by Laya Madsen

photo by Laya Madsen