Stories of Success - Asylee Women Enterprise - Mary's Pence

Women's Stories  |  Grants

Stories of Success – Asylee Women Enterprise

Photograph of a woman at a sewing machine.

Asylee Women Enterprise helps women seeking asylum to rebuild their lives and their spirits. Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE) provides transitional housing, companionship and community to women seeking asylum by offering a safe and nurturing home, opportunities to connect with women in the larger community and each other.
AWE has received two Mary’s Pence Grants. Recently, they shared this deeply moving story of what their work meant for one woman, T.IMG_1142

T. is a 37 year-old woman also from central Africa. She had worked for a major airline as an airline manager. She was gang raped and left for dead because she would not allow a known terrorist to board an airplane. She thought she was doing her job but unfortunately the employer and the government did not protect her. She arrived in the United States with only the phone number of someone that knew her uncle. That family said that they could not help her but sent her to live with another family.
When she arrived with that family she realized that they had taken her in to be the “third wife” to the husband. The other two wives had six children between them. T. was not allowed leave the home at all. She was locked inside all day with the children. She was forced to clean, cook and take care of the personal needs of the children and adults. Daily the other wives would tell her, “We could kill you and dump your body and no one would know it.” “No one knows you are here or cares that you are here.” One day the second wife threatened to throw acid on T. That is when she broke a window and fled, once again, for her life.
Luckily, T. ran to a church that knew about AWE and called us. We were able to offer her housing. We helped her find an attorney and she is currently awaiting her asylum decision. She attended the co-op on a weekly basis while she was awaiting her work authorization. During that time she created a resume, worked on her English pronunciation and networked with many volunteers. Once she was authorized to work, AWE helped her to find employment. She is working full-time – with benefits! She recently moved into her own apartment and plans to purchase her first car!

Mary’s Pence loves to partner with our grantees to empower women and change lives. To learn more about AWE visit:

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