By Sandy Maroun; Edited by Katie Hackett
After Aisha got married, her whole world seemed to close in. She had been teaching for a year at a local public school when she married a man from her village. But she was forced to give up her job when she started having children.
“We lived by ourselves. No one was around from the family to help or give support,” she explains. “I had nothing to do but raise my children and help them with their homework every day. It is a great mission.”
Aisha enjoyed being a mother but began to feel a terrible void in her life.
“I felt lost, and desperate,” she says. “Even when my children grew up and I sought to return to teaching, it was impossible.”
Aisha was now in her forties. In the twenty years that she’d been raising her kids, the requirements for teachers had changed in Lebanon and she was no longer qualified.
“I reached a point in life where I felt confined and annoyed. There was something I needed to do, something I was not aware of,” she explains.
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When World Vision partnered with the community, they started a Mother Action Group in Aisha’s town. Women were invited to learn about health issues like breastfeeding, nutrition and healthcare for children and mothers. The women would then become advocates for family health within their own circles of influence.
“When I heard about the first two sessions, I was hesitant about taking part [in] them,” says Aisha. “On the third time, I took the chance and attended, and I was impressed how useful the information was, and how enjoyable the time I spent was.”
As Aisha continued to attend the sessions, she felt a transformation taking place. She enjoyed learning and applying the lessons in her own life.
“My family, especially my husband [became] persuaded by their importance, despite his opposition at first,” she says, adding with pride, “It was like I became the expert in mother and child health topics.”
Aisha’s relationship with her husband became easier as she learned about communication skills and psychology principles. Her cooking habits shifted, too. She smiles with satisfaction while explaining that her daughter now calls her “a business woman.”
“The health project gave me incentive to rush in life, to move, to make changes myself,” she says. “I have a new mentality today, a positive one, a new life, a strong personality and self-esteem.”