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In Sierra Leone, Trócaire is supporting women like Esther Bangua (32) to rebuild their lives after gender-based violence and look to the future, reports Carol Wrenn, Gender Equality Programme Officer.
Esther Bangura (32) lost her husband at a young age. They had a happy marriage and she missed her husband, who she also relied on to provide for their children.
Esther Bangura (32) in the small shop she opened with support from Trócaire
When she remarried, she hoped for a new start, but instead found herself married to a violent man who beat her.
Esther suffered sustained violence and emotional abuse at the hands of her second husband, who blamed her for being previously married. Meanwhile, he had extramarital relationships.
The couple had two children before the marriage finally broke down.
At first her husband paid the maintenance fee of about €14 per month for his two children, but he later stopped when he remarried.
Struggling to support herself, Esther approached Trócaire’s partner, Access to Justice Law Centre, for help. The centre was starting a new project for women who had suffered domestic violence.
The project enabled her to start a small business selling household items such as sugar, salt, vegetables, sweets and soap. She was able to buy her children school materials and have simple family occasions such as cooking their favourite meal.
“Thank you for the support in saving my life and that of my four children,” said Esther. “I was not feeling human…I even considered suicide because I had lost hope. Now, I am able to buy food and school materials for my children. I can even make decisions in family matters, which I wasn’t able to do before.”
Thanks to generous support from Ireland, Trócaire works across the world to support women to recover and rebuild their lives and confidence after abusive relationships.