News - 18.10.2023

From nightmare to dream

R fought hard and managed to take control of her life

Discrimination and violence against girls around the world persists. It is significant that 1 in 3 women worldwide have suffered physical or sexual violence and 2 million girls per year are at risk of genital mutilation. Médecins du Monde, at A Step Forward Open Accommodation Center, work every day to support these women so they can take their lives into their own hands.

The R from Somalia

One of them is R, who was born and raised in a Somali village. R was never allowed to go to school and experienced daily physical and verbal violence from her family environment. At the age of 15 she decided to run away from home, and when she was found days later she was forced to marry a man 30 years her senior. R continued to experience sexual abuse, which was the trigger for her to once again try to escape the daily nightmare she was living.

So she found herself homeless in Turkey and then travelled from Izmir to Greece where she was again sexually exploited. After being accommodated in a shelter for unaccompanied minors, during the first days of her adulthood she was referred to the MdM-Greece Open Accommodation Center, where with the assistance of trained staff, she was enrolled in formal education, found a job and, after receiving all her legal documents, she went to France to start afresh.

Today R has left behind the abusive environment she lived in as a minor girl, she is a young woman with dreams who has taken the next step and lives as she wants, free, doing what she loves. MdM-Greece supports these girls and stands by their side every day to empower them and protect their rights.

The MdM-Greece Open Accommodation Center, “A Step Forward” reopened in July 2023 after its two-month renovation.