Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A thank you to last year's donors

I've just finished writing and messaging to my donors last year but some of them are on twitter - I know - that's the state of the modern world, I only have @addresses for them! So this is what I'm tweeting to them:

A thank you and an apology :) 


I wanted to thank you all for what we’ve achieved over the last year. We? Yes, you, me and Freedom from Torture! About 12 months ago, you kindly sponsored me to do some crazy running. I wanted to let you know about how that money helped. There’s a list on their website of what your donation can “buy” but I really wanted to let you know about an individual’s story. As you're probably aware it’s never as cut and dry as £10 buys a goat – people’s needs are complex- as this story of a Freedom from Torture’s client illustrates.

I also wanted to apologise in advance if you receive further tweets and emails from me as I’ll be sending out blanket emails to everyone in my inbox ahead of my next fundraising venture, a half Ironman triathlon. I don’t expect any of you to support me again – unless your stocks and shares are doing very well! – but I will point out something about Freedom from Torture. In addition to their excellent work, they have some excellent events, from cooking with famous chefs, classical music, comedy and gigs. They’ve got an e newsletter you can sign up to – and if you did that, I can guarantee the emails are more regular and informative than my own! 

Thank you again for all your support last year and please, take a moment from your busy inbox to read about Malaika – a real woman who has been touched by your donation.

With best wishes

Rowena, swim bike running for Freedom from Torture

In 1999, when she was three months pregnant, Malaika was arrested along with her eight year old son, as a reaction to the political beliefs of her husband, who opposed the government. During her imprisonment, she was kicked, punched and beaten in front of her son, as she was interrogated about her husband’s activities. After her release, Malaika suffered a miscarriage.
She was briefly deported from Ethiopia to a camp in Eritrea before being arrested once more. Again she was beaten, this time by Eritrean police, stripped naked, repeatedly raped and urinated upon. While she was released on bail she saw her opportunity to escape and fled to the UK, but was unable to take her son with her. Her husband, who was also tortured and beaten by both Ethiopian and Eritrean law enforcement officials, later committed suicide.
When Malaika first began her sessions with a Freedom from Torture case worker / counsellor she was in a terrible condition, both physically and psychologically. A lack of secure housing added to her state of insecurity. However thanks to the unstinting efforts of her counsellor and case worker Malaika is began to rediscover a sense of security and hope. In addition to providing counselling, her case worker has also helped to secure her a ground floor local authority flat that meets her mobility needs. The calcium deficiency bone condition she lives with as a result of malnutrition during her years as a prisoner and refugee is now finally being treated, with further medical investigations to follow. She has also commenced studies in ICT at a local college – a sign, as her case worker puts it, that she is “moving on”.
Most significantly, Malaika is now ready to recommence the search for her son. She was involuntarily separated from him when she fled from an Eritrean refugee camp. Believing he is still in Africa, Malaika and her case worker are working with the Red Cross to try to locate him. Malaika had initiated a search for her son before, but found the process unbearably painful and stopped it when she received news of death of her father , who was also in a refugee camp. For some clients, the therapy offered by our skilled clinicians can mean the difference between life and death. Malaika states unequivocally that had she not been in therapy with one of our caseworkers at the time she received news of her father’s death, the grief and guilt she felt would have spurred her to take her own life. She added that her decision to resume the search for her son and her general ability to “move on” are because of her case worker’s committed care and support. Malaika has also spoken of how touched she is by the generosity of Freedom from Torture supporters.
Since Freedom from Torture was established in 1985, over 50,000 individuals like Malaika have been referred to the organisation for help. Thank you for helping them rebuild their lives.

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