Do Something!

I’ve bored my male friends silly with my talk about women’s rights and whatnot. It’s not that they don’t care or anything, but I think they know that talk is cheap. I have such strong views, but what am I doing to make a difference, to help women in those positions that truly breaks my heart?

A few years ago I watched a Dispatches documentary about women in Afghanistan living under Taliban rule. These women were forced to wear burqas—even to the point where their eyes had to be covered—they were beaten by their husbands, they couldn’t work or be educated, and even being spotted in their homes by another man without appropriate cover meant severe punishment. These women were so hurt that they were self-immolating. There was an eighteen year old in a forced marriage who had attempted the same on a busy high street, but was rescued and doused with water by onlookers. The camera crew visited her in hospital, all bandaged and weak, and my stomach dropped. The girl looked dead inside, as if her soul had gone. It was after watching this documentary that I decided to start my own charity.

There’s so many things happening in the world against women, so there was a lot of think about: what would my charity do? What section of women’s inequality should I tackle? I did lots of research and found that there are already charities helping women in the Middle East and ones that set up schools for young Afghan girls; I know that there’s rape crisis centres rapidly being established in the Congo and other parts of Africa where war rape and incest is rife, so I decided to look into the areas of violence against women that aren’t being addressed.

Cue another documentary, Panorama this time, about asylum seekers and refugees who try—by any means necessary—to escape their war-torn and dangerous countries to get into the UK. It was  a very sad documentary and made me thankful that I was already born and raised here. There was a trio of college lads who had literally left Afghanistan in just their t-shirts and jeans and ended up on the borders of Europe in the middle of winter, shivering, with just a plastic sheet between them to keep warm.

There was a woman on this documentary who left Africa after her husband was killed. She had her two young daughters with her, trying to get into the UK. There’s a part of the asylum seeker’s journey that’s dangerous—rogues operate in the area and use exploitative means to provide transport for people to get on to the next country.

You know where I’m going, right?

Yes, the woman was raped by these poachers and they molested her nine-year-old daughter. As the woman told her story to the reporter, she and the camera crew were in tears. That’s when it struck me: women who are homeless, or coming into this country poor and broken—and their children—are in danger. It’s more dangerous for women to be on the streets than men and women asylum seekers won’t only be exploited on their way into this country, but a lot of them find themselves in human trafficking rings once they’ve arrived.

So I want to start up a charity that helps homeless and vulnerable women and their children.

It’s going to take a lot of prayer, and it’s something I don’t actually have the time to tackle at the moment, what with university and assignments, but I’m hoping that with God’s help and a lot of patience, this idea can become a reality.

Stop thinking, Baker, and start doing.

xXx

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A Testimony!

Happy Sabbath.

I love when a Sabbath starts on a high. I still haven’t experienced The testimony, my Damascus Road Testimony, but until then I appreciate the little ones—because in reality, they’re not that little at all.

Quick recap: I was doing Creative Writing at Derby University. I dropped out after first year to pursue a career as a Mental Health nurse but I failed the exam and ended up settling for Sociology at the University of Greenwich. Greenwich requires students to pick up extra courses to make up the points for the year so I chose Forensic Criminology and French—I love the former and hate the latter. I was really down at the start of the year because I thought I had ruined my life and I just wasn’t enjoying university.

The first part of my testimony comes in the form of a final career choice. Even though my dream is to be a published novelist, I still need a day job. One of the reasons I left the Creative Writing course at Derby was because  I couldn’t think of a job that I could do with a Creative Writing degree and my motivation for it started to wane.

Talking to my mum this week it finally dawned on me the job I could do. I would like to work in a Trade Union. I reckon it’s quite competitive these days, but they’re still hiring by the bucketload, plus I have the advantage of knowing how to get into the field as my mum works in the legal department for one of the major unions in the UK (don’t worry, no nepotism here; she can’t get me the job). I started following the work of the trade unions earlier this year when the Tories got in and was both fascinated and horrified by the stories my mum came home with, of the unfairness some people have to face. Finding a career that would be good for me has really got my confidence going and now I’ve started to work harder, because I know where my degree will lead to. I’m still going to pray about it anyway, as I’ve had to twist and change my desire to be a Mental Health nurse quite a lot since I started this degree.

The second part of my testimony is in regards to my French course. No, I don’t like it nor do I understand it and I find the classes boring. I’ve been struggling to retain information it’s made me fall behind in classes more than once. Last week, however, I fell behind in a bad way. I was supposed to hand in a portfolio of work that I didn’t know until it was too late was actually part of a formal assessment. I didn’t understand it so I didn’t do it and decided to give myself an extension for extenuating circumstances (LOL). But then the following week went by and I still hadn’t done it. By this time I was aware just how important the portfolio was and I was bricking myself over how much trouble I would get into. Friday morning came (today) and I very nearly almost stayed at home. So I prayed. I prayed some crazy desperate prayer, pleading with God to soften my French teacher’s heart so she would understand.

I went to class early and told her that I had had trouble with the work and hadn’t done it yet.

“Erm,” she said, “did we agree for you to have an extension?”

“Uhhhhhhh. I—oh yeah! I don’t think we did, did we?”

“You do know I can penalise you for not handing it in on time?”

I then went on a little ramble, saying I hadn’t known who to go to if I’d needed the help; I also hadn’t been able to get to a reliable printer in time; it was really hard work—

“Well it’ll be kind of pointless you coming in class today,” she said. “We’re going to be going through the portfolio together.”

There was a long pause.

“I’ll tell you what,” she said, “Go to the library for an hour and complete the portfolio now. Come back at twelve for the second part of the lecture and I’ll take your work in anyway. I won’t penalise you.”

HUUH? Can I get an ‘Amen’???

I almost cried on my way to the library! It took longer than I thought, though (I told you it was hard); I ended up taking two hours and arriving in the classroom when the lecture was over.

“This wasn’t our agreement, was it?” She said, tapping her foot on the ground.

“I’msosorrysorrytooklongsorrypaperjamsorrywrongfrenchtapesorrysorry.”

And she still accepted it! My prayer was answered. I should have a big red mark next to my name in the coursebook for handing in the work a week late, but thank God it’s all worked out.

But now I must never screw up in the lesson again. She’s gonna be watching me now, I’m sure of it…

xXx