A Story of Healing and Hope
By Sheilla Matanhire
Sheilla Matanhire came to the United States as an asylee in November of 2014 and after a referral from the Center for Victims of Torture, she came to live at Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women. She was a bank manager in Zimbabwe and has two children: a son and daughter.
When I arrived in the United States, four years ago, I had my own vision and goals which were unfortunately overcome by the United States laws. Because it took me over a year to get a working permit, I became a burden to the person I was living with. The relationship with my relative whom I was living with began to be sour bit by bit which I could not help in any way. The treatment I was now getting and the trauma that I experienced back home made me label myself a failure in life and I had no hope of starting again. I felt so depressed.
I came to Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women when I was a complete mess in my mind. Emotions were ruling me; I had lost confidence in myself, I was afraid, I was living on doubts and what I really needed was a shoulder to cry on. Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women became my pillar of strength and my journey to healing began the day I was given the keys to the house. The house was there for me in everything that I needed, including shelter, food and resources.
The time I enjoyed most was dinner times in our dining room. My table would be full, and I would be surrounded by my fellow sisters; eating together, testing different types of food, chatting and laughing. We were all treated the same and no one was more superior to the other. We spoke one language: Love, Peace and Unity.
While I was waiting for my work permit, I engaged myself in different activities. I was taught how to do recycling and I enjoyed doing it. I learned that we can protect and improve our environment by recycling and that knowledge is power.
Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women also taught me how volunteering can help me in my future. I was advised to volunteer in an area that I would work in and I chose administration. I volunteered at St. Catherine University as an administrative assistant in the Alumnae Department, Marketing and Development and at the Wilder Foundation. A month after I received my work permit an opening was posted at the Wilder Foundation and the staff at Sarah’s helped me to do my resume and prepared me for my interview with all the necessary information and skills. That was my first interview and I was hired full time as an administrative specialist, a position I hold to date.
For the two years I lived at Sarah’s my lost hope was restored. I was equipped with knowledge and power to restart my life and I was healed. I now have my full-time job with benefits, and I can pay my own rent. Sarah’s helped me to raise money to pay for my daughter’s plane ticket from Zimbabwe to live with me here and study at St. Catherine University, after receiving a scholarship. She came last year in August and has already completed her first year at St. Kate’s and I am filled with much joy that she is finally here with me.
To Sarah’s, St. Catherine University and all those who helped me unite with my daughter, thank you deeply from the bottom of my heart. Continue with your good works and may you be blessed in all that you do.