Healing Unseen Wounds
In the center of Kosovo’s capital city, Prishtina, sits Heroinat, a striking monument dedicated to the nation’s estimated 20,000 victims of war-time rape. While the nation anonymously pays them tribute, these survivors of the 1998–1999 war in Kosovo still struggle to give voice to their pain.
Rather than finding justice, this community of women has been marginalized by society and rejected by their families. Many were divorced by their husbands and put out of their homes. Others have kept their secret from their family members, fearing the consequences should anyone discover what was done to them.
Today, these women continue to live with unseen wounds of psychological trauma, shame, and marginalization. The judicial system has failed them, and they are victimized a second time by a society that sees their suffering as a shame upon their families.
Alliance Missions in Kosovo has partnered with the Dardania network of churches to address this significant need. In the Drenica region of Kosovo the project, Healing Unseen Wounds, is helping war-rape victims using a two-pronged approach to bring healing and Christ’s love to this overlooked and underserved community of survivors.
First, Healing Unseen Wounds seeks to provide trauma counseling to help heal emotional wounds. In August 2019, the project held its first trauma counseling event led by CAMA worker Lisa Ramsey, bringing together over 30 women.
The women were initially wary, since they are usually asked to dredge up painful memories and retell their stories of assault. However, at the end of the training the women’s center director exclaimed, “We don’t feel this today, we feel energized and hopeful, and that’s different. We didn’t have to talk about what happened to us, and the activities really helped us feel better.”
EMPOWERING IMPOVERISHED WOMEN
Second, Healing Unseen Wounds provides microenterprise investments. With the purchase of a cow, beehive, greenhouse, or sewing machine, women can meet their basic needs and generate a modest income. Connie Seale of the aXcess team and I are leading English classes, building relationships with women, and helping to identify those who will be recipients of these funds.
These simple investments bring hope. Since the project began, Healing Unseen Wounds has helped five families with investments such as these, but the need is great. There are still many survivors living at or below the poverty line, and Healing Unseen Wounds is eager to empower more women to provide for themselves and their families.
Alliance Women has set a goal of raising $32,000 for the Healing Unseen Wounds project. This money will provide two years of trauma counseling through mental health workshops and two years of business consulting and funds for women to purchase beehives, sewing machines, cows, and greenhouses. Prayers and financial gifts are appreciated. For more information, visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.
The Impact of Investing in Women and Girls
Laying on the grass, gazing into the night sky, my dream was to be an astronaut. Some girls want to be nurses, lawyers, moms, or missionaries. There are so many possibilities. But this is not true for every woman or girl, especially in countries where poverty is overwhelming.
Did you know that more than two-thirds of the world’s people live on less than $10 a day? About 2 billion of them survive on less than $5 a day and another 750 million eke out an existence on less than $1.90 a day. God sees their struggle to survive and desires that we take up the cause of the vulnerable in prayer and action. Your support of this year’s Alliance Women projects will make a positive impact in the lives of women and girls. For more information, visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.
International workers often see communities caught in cycles of poverty that lead from one generation to the next. Breaking these cycles can be accomplished through partnering with communities to provide clean water, job training, and educational opportunities. One of the best ways to impact poverty is to invest in women and girls. When we do, we see the transformation of families and communities.
Women are vital to families and communities around the world. Lack of education for girls brings negative effects not only for the girls themselves, but for their children, families, and communities.
- A startling fact is that children who have mothers who can read have a 50 percent better chance of living past the age of five.
- Women make up 65 percent of those who are illiterate and will be joined by the 130 million girls who are not in school today.
- Currently, only one out of three girls finish secondary school, but for every year a girl remains in school she will earn 12 percent more income.
- Women spend 90 percent of their income on their families compared to the 40 percent that men likewise invest.
Bringing the whole gospel for the whole person means helping in tangible ways in the name of Jesus. Your support of this year’s Alliance Women projects will
- provide transitional housing and employment opportunities for released women prisoners in the Philippines;
- offer mental health workshops and micro-enterprise investments including beehives, sewing machines, and greenhouses to wartime rape survivors in Kosovo;
- meet West African immigrant women’s critical needs including ESL classes and housing; and
- give food, shelter, and medical care to Venezuelan refugees in Latin America.
Investing in women and girls is answering God’s call to act for the vulnerable, whose dreams result in hope and help for everyone in the community.