Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter

by Mary Open Doors
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter
Help Secure Permanent Emergency Shelter

As we move forward consistently striving to assist our community through educating and restoring families affected by domestic violence, we must also continue to be thankful to those who have open their hearts to giving to our cause, to our long-term and short-term donors and supporters we extend this simple word of THANKS with gratitude our appreciation to you and your families.

We have had two new client, one client in transition, assisting 1 hiv+ client in final stages, counselling and education outreach, and assistance to single mothers with school supplies. These are only few of the many ways in which our small but effective organization continues to reach out to those in need. Women from MOD has team up with local agency TEP(Toucan Education Program) where they were given an opportunity to be involved in a cultural exchange program which brought them the much needed financial assistance. This will give one of them the help needed to start the process of transitioning from MOD into society stronger and better prepared physically mentally and spiritually. Also, on July 14th 2018, MOD with assistance of Karolina a TEP volunteer hosted its first annual “Summer Strings Benefit Concert” fundraiser geared towards our goal of purchasing our shelter by the end of 2018. After purchasing the shelter we are hoping to make this event our yearly signature event to assist with the sustainability of the organization. Big thank-you to TEP Staff and volunteers. We are in the process of coordinating a fundraising raffle also slated for December 2018. We must not lose hope, so we count on your prayers and support in any form to continue to do this work.

Lastly the work that we do at Mary Open Doors with your generous support has received recognition from the United States Embassy Belize in collaboration with the Women’s Department through our co-founder Anna Silva, who was awarded woman of the year 2018. It is only with your help that our work can be done and our doors continue to be open to those in need.

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Students
Students

Greetings! A special thanks to all our donors for your continued support of our cause and assisting us we are truly grateful knowing that we are not alone in this mission to assist women and their children affected by domestic violence. We depend on you, not only for financial support but emotional and spiritual as well because we can feel the words “let us love each other as I have love you” when we get positive response in words or funds from you our donors.

We are steadily receiving volunteers to assist us with administration of our organization and our shelter has been also steadily accommodating clients.

Story: A young woman with three young children who have been assisted by MOD at the shelter, after leaving the shelter, we continue to maintain a relationship with her keeping her inform of programs  that was offered. We were able to work with Word at Work to get a small wooden house built for her. The person assigned to do the construction fell in love with her and they were married. She is happy and blessed.  I quote her new husband words “it all started with MOD”   

Update:   On May 17, Mary Open Doors traveled to Los Tambos to participate in a health promotion fair at a local school where we spoke to students and teachers from the village. Los Tambos is a quiet mennonite and agricultural community. Throughout the day several different classes came the classroom we were set up in. Over a hundred young people from the ages 6-16 years old was reached with this information.  Beginning presentation students were ask to define domestic violence and identify the different forms it takes (physical, verbal, psychological, etc.). After an introduction, we discuss the ways domestic violence becomes a perpetual cycle that is nearly impossible to break without intervention. We were engaging students of different ages with topics relating to their age range. We ask question and we were questions by them also which showed their interest and interaction, students were rewarded for their answer and participation. This is one area that abuse is still a taboo in our country and it is priceless the information given and how it was received. The principal insisted that each teacher make it a must to visit our booth for this information relating that this is much needed in this community. The greates achievement will be to reach the youths of our country and brake the cycle of domestic and harvest a generation free of abuse.

students
students
Q&A
Q&A
TEP Volunteers
TEP Volunteers
Students
Students
Students
Students
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Abuse is never ok! Many people may not be aware or reluctant to speak up against violence because of fear. Access to the right information is integral to empower the women we serve. Access to the right information leads to better decisions. It is important to have a safe space for these women and children to be able to freely speak their truth.

Mary Open Doors welcomed two student volunteers from Loras College. They assisted us with doing interviews with past clients that have stayed in the shelter and continue to overcome the violence of the past. They have found their voice and strength to speak up about what they went through so that others are able to learn from it. 

Sharing information can create a safer and more informed community.

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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
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one good deed
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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. 

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Mary Open Doors

Location: San Ignacio Town - Belize
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Mary Open Doors
San Ignacio Town, Belize
$12,459 raised of $28,750 goal
 
240 donations
$16,291 to go
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