“A pair of shoes or a warm sweater…” (Part II)

The following is a continuation of updates I’m getting from contacts I have back in Kazakhstan. Amazing what a life changing thing a simple pair of shoes or a warm sweater can make for some rescued people who have experienced deprivation through slavery.  The photo shows the two chairs that turn into beds that many of us Minnesota women helped buy for one of the trafficking shelters in Almaty.  Read what my former student, Aigerim, wrote about a shelter she works at in Astana, Kazakhstan:

Dear Teacher!

Hope you are doing well and I could see and talk to you face to face again and try your chocolate chip cookies!

Anyway life is like a roller-coaster. Though I have some personal troubles with my work yet the [trafficking] shelter fulfill the gaps and make it meaningful. When I first started to work with Anara, the head of the shelter in Astana, there were three women rescued from the slavery. Three different women had different backgrounds, same trouble. Finally here’s a continuation of the story.

The first, Natasha is 21 years old. Her mother is alcohol addicted woman with a slight mental disability used to bring men home, drink and then let them sleep with her teenage daughter. Natasha is mentally slow, and could be abused easily. Her mother once sold her for a few bottles of vodka. These men kept and forced into prostitution for about 8 months then let her go or may be just thrown away. Natasha was trapped by other people in Astana and was rescued by chance.

To the flat, where Natasha was kept the owner brought another girl. This new girl quarreled with mother and ran away to the city where she was kidnapped at the railway station. Ending up at the same flat with Natasha, the new girl broke the window and asked for help. The neighbors heard the cries and called the police.  The new girl went back home and Natasha was taken to the shelter. Natasha was supposed to go to the college of vocational training and continue her education.  Before the start of learning she asked people to send her home to her mother. Natasha did not come back; her disease and being genetically addicted to alcohol became much stronger than all the treatment at the shelter.

Next is Vera. She is 27, has a boy of 11 years. The baby was at the orphanage because of her alcohol addiction. On this reason she became a slave and was forced into prostitution.  I don`t how Vera got to the shelter, but she was there more than half a year. Anara helped her take a son from orphanage and sent to the manicure courses, then found a job in the village near the shelter. However, Vera started drinking again. Now she is in the clinic for alcohol and drug addicted people for 4 months and her son Vlad lives in the shelter and goes to the local school. Mary promised to give some clothes for the boy.

And the last is Asema. She is 25, used to be a prostitute and then forced to work for the owner. At the shelter she got the cure and went to the manicure courses. Now she works at the beauty salon near the office of the fund and I see her from time to time.  She always smiles to me and looks pretty good. Anara and all the shelter workers hope she will do well and start a new life.

These three women used to attend English classes in summer when I started my work. That is the background of my work with the trafficking shelter and the public fund. I`ll write you more about activities we did together with the British teacher volunteers, if it is interesting for you teacher. Now I need to have lunch and go to teach business people to earn some money!

Cheers!  Aigerim

carpe diem!

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