Nov 13, 2017

Sharing is Caring All IT TAKES IS ONE GOOD DEED

we need your help
we need your help

Mary Open Doors salutes its sponsors and donors as it continues its work and commitment to society as we come to the end of a very challenging year. Supporting our cause has proven your generosity. Greatness is not what you have it is what you have given. Striving to meet our goals would not be possible without your assistance and once more we take this opportunity to extend a sincere THANK YOU with gratitude and appreciation for your caring.

Presently, we continue to house women and children in need of a safe shelter. We are also establishing working relationships with new and old partners. We patiently continue to work on creating a new board of directors which is becoming a challenge. We need committed and dedicated people willing to serve without expecting much in return as we are an NGO. 

We are happy to welcome Mr. Kenny Chan who has come on board to assist us in writing proposals and developing our strategies for creating this board. Our major concern at this time remains “the purchasing of our shelter house, functioning paid staff  and to become stable and sustainable”. Attempts has been made to meet with Government ministers to help support our cause and so we remain hopeful that eventually we will be granted a subvention to help with our overhead expenses. We are thankful to our long term donors for their dedication and commitment as a little goes a long way.

We are experiencing a lot of emotional distress with the children we have put our focus here for this report.

Domestic Violence: The Psychological and Emotional Wounds transmitted to children 

Mary Open doors is currently responding to much more of these cases where they are becoming more prominent and visible signs of children suffering without coping skills to help them survive in our society is a major factor in the cycle repeating itself, crime and abnormal behavior is more evident with the rise of delinquent teens in our society.

Broken, depressed, angry and confused are the obvious signs of domestic abuse. These emotional and mental injuries are just as crucial as physical injuries and demand our care and attention; it is imperative that the psychological and emotional wounds suffered from these traumatic events also get addressed. When this is left unattended the outcome is vicious. Our present experience with adult and children being housed currently is that children are usually at the receiving end of the mother’s anger and confusion and inability to cope during this time.

As a result they make wrong choices because of a lack of guidance and protection and repeat what they experience. They rebel and seek comfort through the use of illicit drugs, alcoholic desires, and even suicidal thoughts. This lack of emotional support can also lead to heightened fearanxietydepression, anger, posttraumatic stress and social withdrawal. These wounds are completely undetectable by x-rays and too often go untreated.    

The Social Impact

Mary Open Doors continues to be one of the few shelters in the entire country with limited resources to meet its demanding needs of our community. We act as a form of intervention before that child is placed into the system or wheel off to the children's home. We continue to work on getting more assistance from the Government and teaming up with the existing agencies combating this problem in our society. Our strongest point being able to network with other agencies without duplicating efforts.

The psychological, emotional, and social impacts of domestic violence can linger long after the violence has subsided, and even after the victim has left the abusive partner it has a ripple effect that tears through the fabric of the victim’s life. All through it this experience the children are affected and have to rely on outside intervention to recover and heal. Being exposed to a different way of life without abuse gives them hope and keeps them focus on making a change for the family. They need Mary Open Doors and our environment to change views, opinion and behavior especially for the women for it to cause an effect on the children. Behavioral changes is a dire need for women and children. 

Beating the odds, overcoming and breaking the cycle through knowledge, intervention love and care Education is a powerful weapon which you can use to change the world (Nelson Mandela) 

Interview with 16 years old young man of a family being assisted at Mary Open Doors. 

Q.    How do you feel about your life before with your mom and dad together as a family? 

Ans:  As a whole family I could turn to both parent to ask questions and opinion and that made me feel equal with other kids. 

Q.   What happen to change this?

 Ans: “Parents could not agree because of us children that get into arguments. I think my dad especially did not like me because my mom always protected me from him. I think some of the reason why they split up was because of me, but mostly because he cheated on my mom and she found out. Just lately I came to realize what the situation was and got to hear from both of them, the two different stories and formed my own opinion.  My mom is a very strong headed person and I cannot understand her at all. She continues to make poor choices and at times I felt that I was the adult and had to be looking out for us -the children. I think my mom has been hurt a lot and she does not know how to get over it she is always angry and want things to be done her way. She always feels like people are taking advantage of us. She looks at only the bad in everything even if it is a good thing. She love us and want the best for us but cannot somehow handle her own self so she cannot give us what she knows is right because she is very very angry at herself and choices she has been making. My dad has moved on with other women and has other families. I hope and pray that I do not behave like him and leave my family when I grow up and become a man. 

Q. What are some of the feelings you experience since living in these situations? 

Ans:  Withdrawn, keep to myself and try to block out everything. I want to fix the things she has made wrong choices on but I know I cannot fix her and my mom thinks very different. Most of her choices I don’t agree with I cannot see why she would make some of the dumb choices it’s like she is a child and cannot see the wrong she is doing but I have to go along with it because I am a child and cannot do anything but go along with it. I am very concerned for my two other sisters and pray that nothing bad happens to them. 

Q.  Presently what is your relationship with your mom like? 

Ans:  I am separated from my mother. I realize I need to be separated so that I can accomplish my goal of finishing school and working to provide for them. I miss them even though we had tough times, sometimes it was ok. But we go into too much confrontation one of which ended in, me being taken to the police station and put in a cell for several hours. This made me feel that my mom did not love me and thinks of me as my dad as she is always telling me **** .So right now I still do not have a relationship I wish for with my mother or father. I am not happy I am not with them but staying with them will lead me to the wrong side of life I am positive that her wrong choices have made my life difficult. This is our second time at MOD.  From the time we started to have problems MOD was there for all of us until now.

 Q    What is MOD to you? 

Ans:  MOD is a place to help people and the word Mary is connected to women and Doors is open to all women.  

Q. How do you feel about mom and sisters being at MOD?

 Ans: I am relieved because they have a roof over their heads a place to sleep, food, and people to guide and help her realize if she does not change her attitude we the children could be messed up and cause us to suffer more. I can focus on school without worrying about what is happening to them, like her boyfriends taking advantage of her and my sisters or she put them in danger   or if they are getting wet when it rains and things like that. 

Q. What changes would you like to see happen for your mom and sisters? 

Ans: I am hoping she could return to school, get more counseling and be upfront and strict with us, advice on how to treat and take care of her daughters. She needs to try hard to change because her bad examples are already affecting my sister with the choices my sister is making regarding relationships now. My sister needs a good female role model because they are not strong and are easily lead astray to do wrong things. She gives us too much freedom and we feel like we are the adult; ex. My younger sister chooses when she want to go to school and the older sister friends and the world influence her a lot and mom has little control without anger or abuse beating. No discipline, the way she thinks always impatient not taking time to sort things out. She cannot accept she is wrong, always criticizing and trying to find bad in everything. I hope she will stay there so people could help her to help us. I love my mother.    

Thankfully, for both children and adults, these feelings of distress often subside if adequate support is received from family members, friends, mental health professionals, and other social networks. It is clear that the psychological and emotional wounds of domestic violence are devastating. They can potentially haunt victims for many years and rob them of the ability to live a rich, full life.  With your support and help we can continue to meet our goals especially of purchasing our shelter to ensure a secure and safe space for women and their children. There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children! (Nelson Mandela)

Beating the odds and overcoming
Beating the odds and overcoming
one good deed
one good deed
Aug 10, 2017

Hope: Believing Things Can Change

We continue to extend sincere thanks to all our donors international and local, past, present and future. To the past donors we are where we are because you cared and have given us the support needed to move forward, to our current donors we give thanks that you have seen the effect of our work and the need for continued change in our society and to our future donors don’t be left out of satisfaction of serving and giving to those in need changing lives by giving women a sense of peace and dignity to move on after DV. And to all we thank you so much for believing in our cause and continuing to support us.

The last three month have challenging and encouraging as well. It is because of our challenges we are able to grow and strengthen so we welcome all challenges with a positive attitude and keep looking at the brighter side of things. Our biggest challenge had been the passing of single parent with 10 children as we continue to grieve we are trying to assist the minors with school and their basic needs by linking them with the available resources available through the government and also with local donors. We will continue to extend care and monitor these youths who are in dire need of guidance, motivation and encouragement.

A fourteen year old female delinquent is presently receiving tutoring and is looking forward to going to high school. This started with the volunteer and after her departure a local has taken up task to assist her and help her be ready for high school.

We also assisted a 2months old infant and father gain safety for the infant as this was an old case of MOD and the information and advocacy provide by MOD enable the police and social service department to make correct decision in placement of the infant who was in danger.

As we continue to work in the field and at the forefront with people of all walks of life in our community we are also engaging with those in decision and policy making position.

While our primary focus is our shelter and serving women and our children affected we are also involve in michanery that is creating the way forward to the elimination of domestic violence in our country. Mary Open Doors was represented at a Gender Based Violence Concept and Methodologies training facilitated by the National women commission (NWC)where the Cayo District Gener-Based Violence Committee was formed. MOD was first to be nominated to be the president of the committee but had to decline due to the lack of staffing at this time. Nonetheless, we are a member of the committee and very committed to serving where possible. A new victims complaint form was also launched to assist clients receive maximum attention and hold those in authority accountable for the services extended to victims.

We need your help to continue to serve and advocate for social justice and any other form of inequality against women and children.

Become a Link that forms the chain of hope with Mary Open Doors Family,  as we continue in our struggle to be a part of the solution in the fight against the epidemic of domestic violence in our country and the region. We cannot do this on our own without your help this would be impossible we need each other . Your encouragement and support have kept us motivated and in operation from past and current volunteers and donors. 

On May 15 to June 9 Mary Open Doors welcome Criminal Justice undergraduate volunteer from Michigan State University, USA. She assisted us making connections with past and present partners getting our face book page updated and current  in one week we had over 2,000 likes coming and supporting the work we do. We have gotten additional food donors and renew relationships that had become dormant. Her statement upon leaving quote:

”I just wanted to start off by saying I    have enjoyed my time working with Mary Open Doors. I was a pleasure to work with you and the other ladies. From my short time here I have seen how hard you work and how much more you do  for the women and children in the Cayo District than you are required to do. AS I leave and venture of, I would still like to assist MOD in any way I can. As mentioned I will be making contact with Lacasa shelter in Michigan and speaking with them on how they run their shelter and gets sponsors and what not. I will be mailing back brochures and any other important information for your benefit. If there is anything else I can assist or help you with please feel free to contact me anytime and I will be more than glad to help.”

We also had the pleasure of presenting to a group (15) of missionary and  was able to steer them to our GlobalGiving page in the event they wish to donate.

Work continues at the shelter our long awaited cameras have been installed and our water tank to catch rain water and help with the cost of water is being installed as well. 

Apr 7, 2017

GOOD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN WE SHARE

Living with Abuse
Living with Abuse

Mary Open Doors foundation is built on love and support from those of us caring for each person in our community. This is an accumulation of experiences, ideas, finances, knowledge, and plain love for families, and keeping families together by helping them to live lives with dignity and knowing that we care.

We depend on support from you and many volunteers who have left their homes on missions to help this cause. Domestic Violence is a worldwide epidemic and our only hope is coming together to assist those in need. A huge thank you to all those who have help us over the years and our new supporters. We appreciate each and every one of you!

Today, we are happy to report that our meeting with our partner government agency (Women’s Department) mentioned in our last report have provided us with a grant of BZE $10,000 to assist with the administration of the shelter. This finaical support comes at a critical time and is tremendously motivating for us. We are grateful that the Belizean Government recognizes the value of our service to the community and the plight we have endured in our continuous effort to support our cause financially. We hope that this is the beginning of a long and fruitful working relationship that can only lead to success in realizing our mission to eliminate domestic violence.

Additionally, we are excited to share that a new Board of Directors meeting is scheduled to strategically recruit community organizations and new donors to join our cause through increased involvement in leading the organization. We have solicited organizations such as banks, credit unions, (some already existing donors) member of our town council, Women Development Officer, and others to have a more efficient and effective leadership that will keep us engage and growing.

Furthermore, we are in communication with the Center for Social Impact Learning, Frontier Market Scouts at Middlebury Institute for International Studies in the U.S. to recruit a volunteer for the position of Organizational Development Office for two years starting in June, 2017.  The objectives of this position is to revitalize the organization, increase its effectiveness, and social impact. Conduct an organizational needs assessment; design a 5 year strategic plan, including media and communication strategy plan. Review the current organizational and financial structure and make recommendations for reform, review draft operating budget and include salary for either a CEO or Executive Director. Review and redesign the annual report for donors and governmental stakeholders, design a plan to nurture and grow local and international networks, design a fundraising strategy that further strengthens current partnership with Global Giving, while identifying key grants with the potential to fund operating budgets aimed at increasing capacity, review and recommend further updates for the website and assist with administrative tasks.

We are pleased to share with you our valued donors’ news of our successful recruiting of two in-country  volunteers from Galen University, the only private university in Belize to assist us with daily operations and communications.  

 

Mary Open Doors Impact – A Survivor Story

 “I didn’t have any knowledge of domestic violence. I didn’t know there was help. I didn’t know how to live alone with ten children. I was so afraid of him.”

“My sister-in-law was also a victim of domestic violence and she told me that there was help. But I was scared to approach them. In 2008, both of us went to jail, and it was his fault. I was in jail for three months, and my kids were taken in by Social Services. This is when I realized that I had to get out of this kind of life, for myself and for my kids. I was scared because I felt alone, I had no family support. This is why I put up with him for twelve years.”

“In January 2009, in the morning, he got up and beat our daughter, I defended her and he beat me as well. In 2007, my mom died, and I wanted to visit her grave, so I asked him to take me to the cemetery. It was in the evening that we went, I prayed and asked my mom for a sign. It was getting late and we left. He was a taxi driver, and he had me behind the steering wheel to practice my driving by the seashore. Here he was trying to be nice to make up for the beating that he gave me and my daughter. While I was driving, there were three ladies that stopped the taxi, so I got off the driver seat for him to drive. What happened next was an experience that made me really focus on my life. The three ladies that got into the taxi were two old ladies, one who was very sick in a wheelchair, and her granddaughter that accompanied them. The old lady who was sick with Alzheimer said, ‘Terese are you okay?’ as she looked back at me. I didn’t know this old lady, how did she knew my name? Even he looked back at me. She touched me, and continued ‘Terese, am talking to you. Are you okay? I know you aren’t okay.

Do something with your life.’ I felt something through my body, I can’t explain how I felt. My mom answered me. She talked to me through this old lady. ‘Thank you Lord.’ I said in my mind.”

“I decided no more. No more bruises. No more headaches. No more swollen mouth. No more living every day in fear of him.”

“First of February, he left for work, and I told my kids to get ready; no packing up of everything, only one pair of shoes, clothing, anything, but not everything. So we could just leave. He returned home quickly. I told the children to drop everything, he almost caught us. He sensed something was off and said, ‘Bunch of hypocrites’. This was still in 2009. The third of February, I told him a lie. I told him that I needed to go see the lady that took care of my kids when I was in jail. He gave me some money to catch a taxi. He said that by 10 a.m. I should be back at home. For some reason he couldn’t take me. I went to Social Services for help. I talked to the lady, I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down in front of her. I was so emotional, couldn’t help but cry. I asked her to tell me if she could help me, because if they can’t help me, I need to be back at home by 10 a.m.”

“She explained all the things that we had to do. Everything including the restraining order. I told the lady that I wanted to go far away from the city. Far from where he could reach me, I couldn’t describe the fear I had for this person. And that’s how I came here at Mary Open Doors, in the Cayo district, far from Belize City.”

“I didn’t know how I would make it here alone with my kids. But I was free. We were finally free from him. I was happy with this new life with no fear of what he might do to us. This peacefulness.”

Mary Open Doors really was a blessing and and a place of safe heaven for me and my children. I did not know how I would survive, but with the encouraging love, support and direction I was able to ovecome my fear of being on my own.

“I am struggling with house bills and tuition. That’s the sacrifice I made for my kids. I want them to have the education I never had. Two of them are in primary school, and three in high school. Even after eight years has passed, my kids are still angry. They don’t forget what they went through with their father. That’s why I talk to them about domestic violence. I want them to be somebody in their lives and not walk down the same path as their father.”

“Abuse was nothing nice. He physically, mentally, verbally, and sexually abused me. He never had a heart.”

“I am a happy survivor of domestic violence because Mary Open Doors were there to provide shelter and support through the difficult times and throughout the healing process.”

Ms. Teresa W., Survivor (SUCCESS STORY)

 

Mary Open Doors impact - A  victim's Story (currently in the suitation)

Hopefully with the assistance of Mary Open Doors this thirty-five year old creole woman with five children (three teenagers) and common-law living in a domestic violence situation for over ten years will get the couragae and support needed to leave her situation.

Interviewer: Can you explain your current situation and abuse experienced?

Client: I did not grow up with my parents and have not experience love in a good way. I wish I had my mother to give me a hug and listen to my cries. He has beaten me about four times. I was living with his mother. He came home late one even without anything for us to eat. Both me and the children were hungry and he did not bring anything. I decided to go and try to get something to eat from my friends.

He taught I was going to see another man. He followed me and came at me kicking and punching me i immediaely went to the police he was arrested and release. He came and the honeymoon cycle began all over again.

Client:Second hitting broke three of my ribs I still suffer the effects of that even as we speak today. During this time I have changed I have develop a hatefull feeling towards him since then to present.  There is no peace in my home constant fighting sometimes I feel like I am going crazy. I try my best to control how I feel but this is hard.

Interviewer: Will you leave?

Client : I cannot leave because I have no family alive, no education and no job I have got to stay and live like this feeling like S..T all the time.

Interviewer: If you had help would you leave?

Client: I most definately would LIKE TO LEAVE and one day I will leave?

 This and many other stories similiar to this is what we at Mary Open Doors experience as we struggle to keep open the doors of the organization. This need to support women and their children in our community will help in the restoration of  our family units and family values to create a better environment for the future generation.

Living with abuse
Living with abuse
Good things happens when we share
Good things happens when we share
 
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