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


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
Nov 8, 2016

Awareness+ Action=Social Change!

Awarness+Action=Social Change DV Campaign
Awarness+Action=Social Change DV Campaign

Here at Mary Open Doors we love, love, our supporters! Your support empowers us to raise awareness, take action to help those who are ready to start a violence free life, which leads to powerful social change in communities all over Belize! Our work would not be possible without your generosity and we take this opportunity to truly convey our heart-felt gratitude!

The work to rebuild the organization is ongoing. We’ve recently met with our social partners from the Ministry of Human Development and Social Services to discuss a strategy to get the organization up to its full potential. The meeting was productive now we are waiting for feedback from this important social partner.

As we continue the work to fund our current GG project, we never thought garnering support from within our home country would be this challenging. Mary Open Doors is well known in the community as the resource to seek out when women are ready to leave their abusive relationships. I must admit that there is blame to go around as we face the human resource challenge as a grass-roots organization. However, my heart is warmed and happy to know that people who have never been to our country or know us personally would be so responsive to our cause. The outpouring of support from people from abroad is astounding and we simply want to you to know that we value you. We also value our in-country supporters tremendously. We are now tasked to raise more awareness about our work to the greater Belizean public. A well thought our campaign should go a long way in getting more Belizean organizations to join you in supporting us.

There is so much work to do in domestic violence in Belize. We call on our social partners to join us in this important endeavour to strengthen our capacity to improve and expand our services.

As we move close to Giving Tuesday and the Holidays in December, we humbly ask that you think of our work and how this work impact families.

Short Story on our Work:

I will take a minute to share how your support helps us to help others. Imagine this scenario! A mother and her 8 children are ready to leave the abusive relationship she has endured for 15 or more years. She has never worked, never managed money, never built a network of supportive friends, has less than an 8th grade education, and has never been outside of her village. Imagine the courage it would take for her to leave the only home she has known. How will she feed her children? Who will pay the bills, and the fees for her children to go to school? Wait, there is more… She is not feeling well, as-a-matter-of-fact, she has been unwell and knows she needs to see a doctor. She loses hope of ever escaping her situation when she things about the needs of her children coupled with her inability to provide for them.

Mary Open Doors is working in this woman’s village through a women’s group to raise awareness about H.I.V. and its connection to Domestic Violence. They have a meeting and invite women to this meeting where they have a conversation with the women about H.I.V and their basic human rights. Information on the importance of getting tested and how to obtain legal protection and child support for the children is shared. Yes, finally the organization talks about emergency housing in the event a woman need to suddenly leave. Information on how to contact the organization is shared.

Two days later the woman who attended the session called. She has had enough of her abusive spouse and made up her mind to leave with her 8 children. She urgently needs emergency shelter. Mary Open Doors takes immediate action to extend assistance. An intake is conducted to document the woman’s physical and psychological wellbeing, which leads to a plan to provide shelter, food, clothing, medical care, court advocacy, and so forth. This action leads to positive change as the woman learns about her inner strengthens and realize that a new life is indeed possible.

You empower us to raise awareness that leads to action and social change on regular basis. The aforementioned short story shared today is replicated many time at Mary Open Doors. This is all made possible because you choose to support us. On the behalf of our victims and survivors, we are so grateful!

We leave you with this quote.

“One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time.”  Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable. We can put a stop to this.”
— Nicole Kidman


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