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International Women's Day: Sayeeda - A Woman of Tenacity

Sayeeda was one of five children born to poor Muslim parents. She was trafficked throughout her early teenage years and experienced severe trauma and on-going exploitation.

In 2016, 16-year-old Sayeeda was rescued again, and our team first met Sayeeda at a shelter home two years later. She seemed quiet and mellow, but Sayeeda actively participated in the life skills sessions and learned how to make jewelry.

After Sayeeda was released from the shelter home, she returned to her home in Uttar Pradesh. There, she met Bala, a boy of a different faith. Bala and Sayeeda fell in love, got married, had two children together, and for some time, life was good. But after some years, Bala questioned Sayeeda’s trust; he continually checked her phone, did not want her to talk to others, and would not allow her to go anywhere alone. He physically and verbally abused her, and Sayeeda fell into a deep depression. She wanted to run away, but her children were young and she had very little money. Sayeeda continued to endure the abuse, until one day, in a fit of rage, Sayeeda’s husband burned all of her clothes. Terrified, Sayeeda fled with her children to her parent’s house. She hoped to find support from her family, but they rejected her. Sayeeda had chosen to marry a man of another faith, and as a result, her family disowned her. 

With nowhere else to turn, Sayeeda took a train back to Uttar Pradesh, where she rented a small room for $30 per month. After two months, she ran out of rent money, and she called us to ask for help. She needed work and a place for her and her children to stay. 

We spoke to the District Protection Officer in Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh, who referred Sayeeda and her children to a temporary shelter. We continued to look for a permanent solution for them. After inquiring at several shelter homes, we found a place for her in Maharashtra. Sayeeda was eager to move right away.

On February 21, 2024, Sayeeda and her children boarded a train to Maharashtra, and our team received them at the station on February 22nd. Sayeeda and her children joined the shelter home, where they continue to stay safe and learn skills to equip them for this new beginning. 

Sayeeda has been actively involved in our life skills sessions at the shelter home, and she is eager to learn embroidery, jewelry making, and other crafts that will help to sustain her and her children. She is also interested in completing her studies. 

After years of trauma, Sayeeda finally feels safe. We celebrate her courage and strength, and we hope to offer her continued support as she pursues a better life for herself and her children.


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