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Nora is a survivor twice over – a courageous woman who has faced the horrors of natural disaster and domestic abuse.

16 Days of Activism: among the ruins, hope grows – Nora’s journey of healing and empowerment

Nora is a survivor twice over – a courageous woman who has faced the horrors of natural disaster and domestic abuse.

Nora lives with her 8 children in a coastal village called Sani-Sani in the province of Surigao Del Norte, the Philippines. In 2021 the family faced the full force of Typhoon Rai, which tore their world apart. It was Nora who pulled them through.

“The typhoon stripped us of everything,” Nora recalls, her voice steady but her eyes reflecting the turmoil within. “I was left with the remnants of my home, and the silence that followed the storm.”

The unseen storm: battling domestic abuse

Sani-Sani, a village once buzzing with communal life and laughter, was reduced to ruins. Nora somehow mustered the strength not only to rebuild her home but also to lift the spirits of her family and their neighbours. “I had to be the anchor in the storm for my children,” she explains.

As Nora worked tirelessly to piece together her home and her life after the typhoon, she was carrying another heavy burden — the pain inflicted by the husband who had once vowed to cherish and protect her.

The bruises on my body were hidden beneath my clothes, and I had to carry a hidden agony for years to ensure my children had both of their parents.

Nora recalls.

Nora suffered in silence at first – until the safety of her children was also in real danger. “I could bear the pain when it was just me, but I could not stand by while my children became targets,” she says, reflecting on taking the courageous step to face the future as a single parent. “I had to protect them, to break the cycle of fear and suffering.”

Healing with Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief’s HEART project became a real lifeline for Nora and the entire community in Sani-Sani in the wake of the typhoon. They received aid in many forms – including food packs, hygiene kits, and shelter materials to patch up their or rebuild their homes.

Perhaps most crucial was the mental health and psychosocial support and training they received through the project. Nora and others were empowered to weave a net of psychological resilience around their families and the wider community amid the debris of despair.

Islamic Relief’s support became the solid ground on which Nora could stand and rebuild her life.

Islamic Relief was there for us, not just to help rebuild our home but also to restore our spirits.

Nora says.

Through counselling and psychosocial support, Nora and her children began the arduous process of healing that has helped them to overcome the trauma they have all experienced.

Nurturing dreams in adversity

As a mother, Nora’s hopes for her children have become a real driving force in adversity. She longs to see them succeeding in their studies, donning graduation caps and clutching the hard-earned diplomas that could hold the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and opening up a world of opportunities.

“My life is hard, but my dreams for my children are straightforward,” she says. Her ambition is not for wealth or recognition but a burning desire to see her children live a life better than her own.

Nora’s journey is a powerful testament to the endurance of the human spirit, a story that shows what can be achieved if we all stand in solidarity with those who fight silent battles every day.

Support from Islamic Relief and people like you makes the difference between succumbing to despair and rising in hope.

Nora says.

Be the change: join the 16 days of activism

In this year’s 16 days of Activism campaign, Islamic Relief is encouraging our supporters to join forces with Nora and countless others striving to live their lives in dignity, free from violence. Your support – through donations, through raising awareness, and through taking a stand against domestic abuse – can offer a lifeline to those who need it most.

With our help, families like Nora’s move from barely surviving to really thriving. Please support Islamic Relief’s efforts to provide health services, psychosocial support, and education for those affected by violence and natural disasters.

Donate now and be part of their journey to a brighter, safer future.

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