Last July, I was in Amman, Jordan. I was ministering with Iraqi refugee children.
While there, I came across a lot of Syrian women refugees who have fled from Syria to Jordan.
One of the women, in her mid-thirties, had a look of brokenness and sadness. She was in a sewing class. When I asked about her story, I learned that she fled with her three children ages 3,5 and 6 after their house was bombed and her husband was killed. She escaped with nothing. Her three children were screaming as they passed the Syria/ Jordan borders.
As she learned sewing, her three children were attending a Montessori school across the street. A Montessori school with a focus on trauma therapy for war kids.
I learned that before she started in sewing school, she had no means to pay for rent and food. When asked by the head of the sewing school how she paid the rent, her tears rolled down her cheeks. "It costs me dearly." The head of the sewing school learned that the price for rent and for food and for meat was sex.
"I feel so filthy, but I had to feed my children." When the head of the sewing school learned of this, she concentrated on that Syrian girl learning quickly. Then the school bought her a sewing machine and moved her to a new place in Jordan where she put a little sign on her apartment door that reads" ALTERATIONS.
Now she is living life with dignity providing for her children.
When I heard that story, my heart was so moved that I decided to take the Not Guilty team on November 20-24, 2018 to Amman Jordan to minister to the kids at the Montessori school, as well as to the women in the sewing school.
The project- Eve of the Factory- is extending to Syrian women living in Jordan, as well as to Iraq refugees.
We will be training 50 women and 100 kids.
We will need extra funds for this project, which will cost $12,500 but I am sure God will use many to provide for this fantastic project.
I hope you have already bought and read my new book, What Happens After #MeToo- Tackling the Iceberg available on Amazon.
We are starting a new era in the Eve of the Factory project involving the men in the training.
At the Cook Door fast-food factory, we trained 30 factory men and 30 factory women with the anti-sexual abuse training.
It was amazing to see how men did not know anything about boundaries, yet when we played with them the boundaries games during the workshop, they had stronger boundaries than the women, shouting STOP at a further distance than women.
The women really appreciated the fact that men were involved.
"I will feel safer now, knowing that men went through the same training like us". said one factory girl worker.
Since this training is not common in Egypt, we are extending this training and tweaking it to become a training for the workplace in general and not only for factory workers.
We have approached two banks and are waiting for their reply to perform the training in their bank for employees.
Dr. Laila Risgallah Wahba, Founder, and President of Not Guilty, is in the process of rewriting the curriculum to fit a different audience but with the same topics.
Dr. Laila Risgallah Wahba is also launching her new book, What Happens After #MeToo on August 1 to reach a broader platform with anti-sexual abuse awareness.
Our vision is to reach at least 2 more factories and three banks by the end of the year.
The challenges we face is the stigma that if they agree to do the training it means that they have cases. Part of our message is forewarned is forearmed. The organizations do not need to have cases, but it is much better to have the training in place to set the culture of the workplace as a safe environment.
"I did not know how to put boundaries until today". These were words uttered by Samya who was one of the attendants of our training at the Cook Door factory. The Cook Door factory is a food factory with many sandwaich shops across Cairo.
This project is a partnership between Not Guilty and Save the Children. There were 30 workers present. The training took place in February 2018.
Since we decided to involve men in the safety in the workplace trainings, things have become so interesting. Teaching boundaries to men is actually an eye opener. Many men feel suffocated, one of them even screamed STOP IT RIGHT NOW, when he felt the group getting too close to him in one of the games.
Yet, Cook Door owners were wary about letting Not Guilty team train about harassment in the work place. They did not know what to expect since this training is quite new in Egypt.
So they decided to try us out once, then, if they like the training to go ahead and do the full five days.
SO, we decided to do the sessions on boundries. two sessions for men, and two for women.
It was amazing how men and women react differently: men were actually more annoyed when someone intruded into their private space delineated by a hoolah hoop. It is only then that they realized how annoying it is to women to have their boundaries broken.
"We never understood", commented Ahmed, one of the factory workers. "We always thought it was fun, adding some excitment to the dreary and long work days. But, I decided to stop now that I exeprienced that feeling of suffocation and annoyment".
One of the games we play during the workshop are the circles of boundaries, where they would put acquaintances in the outer circle, and get closer and closer till they reach the inner circle of the family and the spouse. Many had mixed up boundaries, putting people who should be in the outer circle in a circle closer to the family. They realsed that boundaries are good and they make healthy realtionships.
"Today, I learned I can put boundaries, even if the other party does not like it. My body belongs to me, and I get to decide what boundaries I need to have. I feel so empowered. Thank you Not Guilty".
Did Cook Door decide to take the rest of the training? Yes. Now, we are preparing for a training in August to the whole factory team.
We want to reach at least 15 factories in 2018.
What a year God has given us at Not Guilty! It can be summed up in one single word: fruitful!
Your generosity has made a difference and I want to share this good news with you!
As I look back on this year and all the lives that have been transformed through our work together, I can describe so many wonderful testimonies of people who are grateful that you made this ministry possible!
This year, we have been able to expand our outreach to factory workers including both men and women workers - many of whom are teenagers, create new tools and develop new partnerships that will advance Not Guilty's mission ... God will use all this to transform lives ... for years to come.
New doors are opening for God to strengthen lives, children, teenagers, parents and factories with Not Guilty training and counseling.
There are still many, many people across the country and around the world in need of Not Guilty's anti sexual abuse training. Many are living in the prison of guilt, shame and the brokenness of abuse. They need to hear the message of hope that sexual abuse does not define who they are; that their past should not shape their future.
Today, I warmly invite you to stand with Not Guilty once again to give them the best gift: Freedom from shame and guilt!
Together, we are bringing hope to people who are enslaved to the bondage of their past. No matter where I am, whether it’s my church, a school in Egypt, helping train parents in Menya, training caregivers in Assiut or speaking to refugees in the USA , people tell me the same familiar story, “I am changed because of Not Guilty…God saved me through Not Guilty…and now I am helping others, all thanks to Not Guilty.”
Your generosity has enabled them to leave a life of brokenness into a life of hope.
Your prayers and generosity will launch Not Guilty into 2018 — and continue this powerful impact around the world!
Thank you, again, from my innermost being, for your faithfulness. Is 61.1-4
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Founder and President
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