OMID Girls’ Stories Here are stories from just a few of the young who have been lucky in benefiting from our program. We help over 200 young women at anyone time, just like these four remarkable you women: Maryam’s Story My name is Maryam and I am an OMID program graduate. I ran away from home because of my abusive father, and had to sleep rough and support myself through a variety of illegal means. The police picked me up and after 3 months and referred me to OMID. I enrolled in their program and graduated recently. While at OMID I also completed my high school education and applied to Azad University, Tehran, to study physics with a scholarship which OMID obtained for me. I’ll receive my B.S Degree in Nuclear Physics soon. Azin’s Story Azin who left home at 13 to escape the abuse of her stepfather. Her own father, a heroin addict and drug dealer, abandoned her and her mother when she was only three. Azin was moved from one Behzisti (local authority) home to another before coming to the OMID center. She was extremely angry and destructive when she first came to us but has now changed dramatically. She has finished high school, is attending university preparatory classes, and is determined to make a career for herself as a lawyer. She is no longer angry and she has been reunited with her brother and grandmother, and is now also a regular visitor at her mother’s house. Roya’s Story My name is Roya and I am an OMID Foundation graduate. My life was not so fortunate before this. I was sold by my mother into prostitution when I was 9 years old. I spent 10 years being forced to have sex with up to 10 men a day, and was repeatedly raped by my brothers. I had 3 children as a result of these crimes before a neighbor informed the police and my whole family was arrested. I was convicted of incest for having sexual relations with my brothers. The judge insisted that I was not a victim of rape and assumed instead that I had seduced my brothers and sentenced me to hang. I was only 19 years old and on death row when OMID Foundation rescued me. I was illiterate and did not know anything about life when I came to the Omid Foundation, but have now received my 8th grade diploma and work both as a seamstress and as the librarian in one of the OMID centers. Anahita’s Story Anahita ran away from home at 14 and was arrested and put into prison with murderers and drug dealers. The police beat her up and seemed oblivious to the fact that she was just a child. When she came to the OMID center she was scared and felt helpless. However, since coming to the center she has learnt how to read and write and acquired skills which will help her find a job later on. We believe that through love and care in the context of sustained relationships where practical and emotional needs are addressed, the girls will be able to overcome the traumas of the past and work towards a better future. We couple this with excellent educational opportunities and our graduates become highly valued employees with many going on to top professions and university.