Help Us Save & Empower A Young Bright Woman - A Survivor of Family and Institutional Violence At A Quran School in Somalia
Jasmin's parents put her in a Quran School in Somalia. She was tortured and chained in the name of Quran and Islam. She took this picture of her chained feet and texted it to her mother.
As some of you know, I have been under water in taking care of my mother who suffered an acute stroke in August. It's been hard to report all the happenings at MY Project USA since then, because I take care of Newsletter and social media along with many other jobs voluntarily. We hope to catch up with all items slowly but surely. This issue is a bit lengthy so you could catch up with all that has happened in the three months.
First and foremost, as always, is about Protecting and Empowering our Youth. At the moment, our focus has been on Jasmin Osman and Nijma Farah. On October 11, I posted a blog about them and today we are asking our community to help us save Jasmin from any further misery or from hurting herself in any ways or form.
Jasmin Osman is a Somali-American girl who was taken back to Somalia by her parents for dhaqan celis, meaning return to culture, a Somali practice to reeducate culture to the children who might have been westernized abroad.
She was admitted to a Quran School, Daarul Rayxaan, in Hergeisa. She was tortured, shackled, beaten, starved and much more there for months until Jasmin finally escaped. She went back and rescued the other two dozens girls with the help of American, Danish and other embassies, CIA and other agencies.
She is back in Columbus. She is severely suffering emotionally and financially every single day. Regardless of her extremely disturbing past, this young woman is trying very hard to beat all the challenges and be on her feet. But her PTSD and other mental health challenges are major hurdles. She has a very complicated relationship with her mother. Both of them are hurting and need professional help.
I have been helping Jasmin for the last two years. She has stayed with me several times for several days whenever she gets in fight with her mother. She is a very smart, bright and bold young woman who wants to establish her own business and wants to work as a realtor, but her mental health issues pull her back each and every time she thinks she has got it. Within the last 30 days, she has been rescued twice from her car on the brink of time, otherwise she wouldn’t be alive as of now. She is homeless. She has applied for her Medicaid and waiting for approval. In the meantime, she needs to see a dentist, a psychiatrist and other health care needs to be attended that might not be covered by the Medicaid anyways. She has some loans and bills to pay back as well. That also drives her crazy, since she is a proud girl.
Zerqa Abid named Dispatch Media Group’s Everyday Hero for 2019
Founder of MY Project USA to serve immigrant Hilltop residents honored for service to the community
Posted Oct 1, 2019 at 3:26 PM, By Suzanne Goldsmith, Senior Editor, Columbus Monthly.
Zerqa Abid accepts congratulations from (from left) Stephen White of COSI, Dan Sharpe of the Columbus Foundation, and Ray Paprocki of the Dispatch Media Group as she was named the 2019 Everyday Hero Tuesday, October 1, 2019. 25 volunteers from Central Ohio were honored during a luncheon program at COSI, a science museum in downtown Columbus. (Columbus Dispatch photo by Doral Chenoweth III)
Zerqa Abid, founder of MY Project USA, was named Dispatch Media Group’s Everyday Hero for 2019 today in a ceremony held at COSI. The award comes with a $10,000 donation to the organization of Abid’s choosing, funded by the Columbus Foundation. Abid’s nonprofit employs Hilltop youth, many of them Somali immigrants, to help them improve their own lives through soccer and community service
Dispatch Magazine Highlights Zerqa Abid's Work In Their Magazine And On Their YouTube Channel
"Zerqa Abid: A Hilliard resident engages young people in a struggling Hilltop housing complex"
A Video By The Dispatch Media Group Reporters
"Abid was impelled to take action locally by 2013 newspaper coverage of an alleged Somali human trafficking ring said to be forcing Muslim girls into prostitution in several U.S. cities, including Columbus. “I’m a mother of three daughters,” she said. “I could not sleep on this idea that somebody’s daughter would be sold several times a day because maybe my sister was not able to help her.”
“I have gotten help from my friends,” she added. “We get help from friends and cousins and extended family. I wanted to be that help for my brothers and sisters in my refugee community.”
Believing that poverty and lack of opportunity set the stage for social ills like gangs, prostitution, drugs and even radicalization, Abid planned an ambitious effort to engage young people on the Hilltop. She called her nonprofit MY Project USA, with MY representing Muslim Youth.
Abid drew criticism from a few Somali Muslim religious leaders by speaking out about domestic violence and sex trafficking, although she is careful to point out that she believes these are cultural and family issues, not religious ones, and that she has received tremendous community support in addition to criticism. Her goal is to combat Islamophobia, not increase it."