Monday, 22 May 2017
When Aysha* arrived at the Redlight-Greenlight (RLGL) aftercare home, she was deeply traumatised from a situation of sexual abuse.
Her body resembled that of a wilted flower - bent and lifeless. The staff discovered that she was unable to do even simple tasks like finish a meal, draw a straight line or brush her teeth. In addition to this, they worried that she might have some extra difficulties in addition to trauma. Eventually a psychologist gave her evaluation: low IQ and low probability of being able to read and write.
It must have been discouraging for Aysha that her learning was much slower than the other girls – it took her two whole years to learn the alphabet! But Aysha did not give up and nor did the committed RLGL staff who took on extra training in order to provide special learning support. All the hard work paid off when Aysha did what the psychologist thought she would never be able to – read and write!
Fast forward to today and Aysha is seventeen years old and flourishing. While some girls are able to stay short-term in the house, Aysha’s situation requires her to stay long-term. She is enjoying a beautician course to prepare her for the future.
Aysha has grown to become an expressive and articulate young woman and even keeps a diary. Aysha’s personal growth was evident when she found out that one of her best friends was leaving the home to be restored to her family.
Aysha said to her friend,
“Your life is your life. But this is my life. This is where I am meant to stay and grow.”
While the home is focused on seeing each girl as an individual and desires to meet each girl’s unique needs, RLGL also has a bigger and bolder vision. South Asia has a prolific sex trafficking industry and incidents of sexual abuse are some of the highest in the world. RLGL seeks to challenge the dominant value system that blames and denigrates women and therefore tackles some of the root cause of sexual abuse.
RLGL Director, Leila* commented,
“Sexual abuse is really a mindset of power, and a mindset of how people view women. We hope that our home plays an influential role in changing the culture and mindset that looks down on women."
The RLGL home was started in 2012 and has been running at full capacity since then. It has been called "the best home in the city" by local government social services. The home is currently going through a significant period of organisational growth. The plan is to separate the long-term girls, like Aysha, from the more transitory girls.
The cost of a girl like Aysha staying at the Redlight-Greenlight after care home is $65 per month. During this time she will receive medical care, counselling, legal assistance and education for one month at an aftercare home. Your tax-deductible gift to Girls off the Streets (09340) can help give a girl an opportunity to flourish. Click here to give today!
*Not real name, changed to protect identities
Photo: SAM Nasim
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