Wednesday, March 14, 2012


The effects that homelessness, domestic violence and human trafficking have on women are not restricted to the physical evidence that protrudes from malnourished bodies, bruised skin and broken bones – the damage runs through their veins and is engrained on their souls. The women who befall these ill fates are in need of more than physical assistance. They need a hand to hold while they learn to respect, love and cherish themselves again as well as someone they can trust to help carry the undeserved burden that has been so cruelly placed upon them. Heavena is the helping hand and trusted friend to aid these women in their journey to personal healing, strength and independence, and Ingrid is one of the many women who put her faith in Heavena.

Ingrid’s misfortune began with an addiction she could not control – her father’s addiction to liquor. She soon found this addiction would not only control her father, but would also seal her own fate. Treading in a pool of debt to an illicit liquor agent, Ingrid’s father shamelessly offered her as the final payment to settle his balance. The liquor agent accepted, and the two of them were married. 

In one foul swoop Ingrid became a possession, a currency, a wife, a mistress and a mother. The agent was already married and was living with his two children while their mother was in the Middle East. Ingrid was to look after these children while their mother was gone. About a month after they married, the agent began to unremorsefully beat Ingrid. At one time his beating was so severe he broke Ingrid’s arm. His beatings didn’t even subside after she became the mother of two more of his children. When the agent received news that his first wife was returning he showed Ingrid he wanted her gone through even more severe beatings. Ingrid gathered up what little money she had, took her two children and left.

She hoped on the first bus she could and rode it to the end of its route, in Pettah. A man found her lost and crying and after she told him her tragic story, he offered her help. He brought her to the top of a lane and told her to walk down to a shelter at the end of it. The people in the shelter found a room for her with a pastor’s wife, where she stayed for two weeks until the shelter could accommodate her.

Because of Ingrid, the shelter opened a unique unit for battered and homeless women and children. Because of Ingrid Heavena was created. During her stay she was counseled through her violent past. With help from the women at Heavena, Ingrid was able to regain her confidence and sense of self worth. She received an education through a Montessori course and is now a teacher in the Tiny Stars Montessori while her two children attend a government school. For the first time in her life she was able to take her future into her own hands and become the strong, independent woman she was born to be. 

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