The beginnings of Rahina’s story start with her childhood in Burma. She has a very loving family of a mother, father, eight brothers and three sisters. When she was 16, she left home to move to Malaysia to be married. This is where things turned upside down. Rahina’s husband was very abusive and when she was pregnant within 3 months of arriving in Malaysia. He was very upset because pregnancy and birth in Malaysia as a foreigner are very expensive. He wanted to sell their child when she was born to make up for the costs, but Rahina refused to allow this. So he beat her and left her on the streets to die. Some very kind Chinese foreigners who had a shelter took her in, brought her to the hospital, and cared for her until she gave birth to her sweet little daughter, Yasmin.
During this whole process, the people who were caring for her helped her apply to come to the US as a refugee through the UNHCR. The people from the UN were very kind to her and helped her while she recovered with hospital needs, counseling, and other support and she is forever grateful for their kindness and support. This is how she came to be in Georgia. Rahina’s body and mind were very harmed because of everything she experienced in Malaysia and so her refugee resettlement agency helped her find resources to help with the healing process.
Meanwhile, at Embrace, we had begun getting referrals for women from the Rohingya community and didn’t have anyone to help interpret. A few friends of Embrace referred Rahina to us as someone who could help, but who also needed some meaningful work. And so our partnership began. Rahina has since had another child in the US, supported by the team at Embrace and has helped create a blossoming, beautiful community among Rohingya mothers, supporting one another and leading each other to be empowered in their health journeys. When Rahina speaks about this experience of coming to work at Embrace, she says,
“I’m so happy now that I’m helping people. Before, I was having migraines all the time, but now my migraines are gone! And I’m so proud of the work I do at Embrace because I’m also setting an example for my children to be strong, overcome hardship, stand up for themselves, and care for their community. My mother birthed me once, but Embrace has birthed me anew again.”
By being employed at Embrace, Rahina’s whole life has changed- her body and mind are healthy again, her English has improved, she has a way to support her family, and she is raising her kids in a strong community that cares for one another well and doesn’t put up with abuse or mistreatment. Rahina is a strong force at Embrace and an even stronger force in her community. She is now taking the joy and strength of her rebirth and sharing it with her family and community. And she is changing the world because of it.