My name is Selene. I was born and raised in the countryside by my mother and stepfather.

I was sexually abused by my stepfather. I was sleeping in my bed and in the middle of the night I found my stepfather next to me in the bed. I was shouting when he tried to undress me. My mom who was sleeping in the next room came and rescued me. After that day my mom always cried when she saw me, and I felt helpless. It was really difficult for me to live in that kind of environment where everyone was seeing me as that girl who got sexually abused by her father. My neighbors and my friends kept asking me about it and I felt embarrassed and ashamed to tell my story, so I moved to Addis Ababa to live with my aunt and her husband.

My aunt works at Kore collecting valuables to sell and her husband works as a daily laborer near Kore as well. The income they brought home wasn’t enough to pay my school fees after covering all the house expenses, so they told me that they needed to me back to my mother and stepfather because they didn’t have the money to feed me and send me to school. I was really terrified; I decided that I would rather die than go back there, and began to plan how I would kill myself.

But then International Samaritan came and put my heart at ease. International Samaritan covers all my school fees, as well as my food and clothing expenses, so my aunt and uncle could keep me with them. In addition I was given therapy which helped me to come to terms with my past. In the therapy I was encouraged to talk about my abuse. I felt embarrassed at first, but with time when I realized it was never my fault I started sharing the experience with the therapist. I was able to assign the blame where it belonged, and now I know I am a worthwhile and lovable person.

I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the love and support International Samaritan has given me. I don’t have enough words to thank you. What you have done for me means the world to me.

A Letter from Nora

Note: Since this letter was written, Nora has graduated from high school and started studying at University. Everything started when my parents got together. They lived in Zone 18 [of Guatemala City] with my grandmother and my uncles, who lived lives full of luxury...

A Letter from Zoe

Greetings. I am Zoe. I am 10 years old and am a fourth grader in [REDACTED] Primary School. I live with 7 of my family members. Our house is always full of laughter and happiness. To an outsider, it would seem like we have everything in the world. I don’t think even...