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Learning to love my baby: When God restores hope and identity

A mother’s love for her child. It’s powerful. Sacrificial. Unlimited.

But what if you didn’t want that child? What if that child is a reminder of forced marriage and rape?

How do you love that child?

THEY CALLED HER ‘BOKO’

Esther has no idea who her baby’s father is.

She was only a teenager in Nigeria when she was kidnapped by Boko Haram extremists. The Christian women were separated from the Muslim women and offered a choice: forced marriage or slavery.

Esther chose slavery. But it didn’t matter: they married her off anyway.

Eventually she managed to escape from the camp. But by then she was seven months pregnant.

“I had no idea how I would ever be able to love this child,” she says. “Every passing day I hated myself more and more. I felt God had forsaken me.”

Shockingly, when she reached home, she was ridiculed and abused.

“They mocked me because I was pregnant,” she says. “I cried many tears. I felt so lonely. What broke my heart even more was that they refused to call my daughter Rebecca. They referred to her as ‘Boko.’”

SEEING THEIR NEED. CHANGING THEIR LIVES.

Esther’s story might be heartbreaking. But it’s not unusual.

Shocking new research from Open Doors shows that millions of women are doubly vulnerable to persecution, targeted both because of their gender and because of their faith.

And their suffering is unseen. Ignored by the world around them.

That’s why Open Doors has launched the See. Change. campaign. To restore the hope, dignity and identity of women like Esther who face violent persecution because of their faith and because of their gender.

“We need your support,” says Esther. “We also need you to speak on our behalf.”

Please listen to Esther and take action today. Please help to support women who are doubly at risk of persecution.

‘I KNOW WHO SHE IS’

For Esther, things changed when she joined a trauma care programme run by Open Doors partners. It gave her hope. Helped her to see a brighter future.

And this young mother’s love for little Rebecca is strong.

“Before I came for this programme, if you called my daughter ‘Boko Haram baby’ I would fight,” she says. “Now, even if they call her that I don’t feel pain anymore because I know that’s not who my baby is.”

Join the See. Change campaign now to support women who suffer for their faith. You can give, pray, sign the handmade petition and write a personal message of support.

Esther says, “I have no family other than Open Doors. After hearing my story, you did not despise me but encouraged me and showed me love. Thank you so much!"

I SEE YOU

Please give today. Your gifts can help women like Esther to find hope after trauma.

“Women here need trauma help because of the things that have happened,” says Esther.

SEE. CHANGE.

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