Who Is Mona?
Kelly here, founder of Project Mona's House! I think it's only right that I answer this question, don't you?
In 2016 I was living in Thessaloniki, Greece as an intern with A21, a global anti-trafficking organization. It was there that I met a woman by the name of Ramona. She changed my life.
During our time together in Greece, Ramona told me a lot about herself. She told me she was trafficked from the Dominican Republic into Turkey under the assumption that she was going there to work as a maid. Quickly, she learned that was not the case. Instead, she was taken to work in a brothel.
Ramona is a wife, and mother of 3 children. She didn't want another man to violate her body... she loved her husband and only wanted him to touch her in intimate ways. What would her children think of her if they knew what she was being forced to do? She and her husband only agreed for her to be separated from their family so she could make enough money for them to own a taxi business--- and finally provide a better life for their family.
This was no better life, this was a nightmare.
Refusing to obey those who tried to enslave her, Ramona was assulted and thrown out on the street... unable to speak, read, or understand the Turkish language. Can you imagine how lost and helpless she felt? Lonely, scared, and confused.
To make a long story shorter, Ramona found help that advised her to get on a refugee boat that would take her to Greece. Once she arrived, she was escorted into a refugee camp close to the city I was living in. Due to extensive training provided by A21, the people working in the refugee camp concluded that she was probably a victim of human trafficking and they contacted the A21 office.
That one call landed her in the shelter that I was working in at the time. One day I asked Ramona why she was the way she was. Weird question right?!? See, Ramona was different. While other women in the shelter fought, argued, or just didn't get along from time to time, Ramona was NEVER like that. She was always peaceful. I wanted to know why.
Early one morning while Ramona was drinking her coffee on the back patio as she normally did, I asked her. She smiled, and said that her faith in God wouldn't let her be miserable and treat others badly. She said that she knew God was always there with her... even when she felt lonely she knew she wasn't alone. In fact, she said that the current suffering she was facing was in no way comparable to the amazing future that was ahead for her.
In that moment I realized how ungrateful I was and how much I complained without just cause. Ramona had gone through something I hope to NEVER have to experience and here I was, in this beautiful country, finding reasons to complain everyday.
That day, I called my office and said "Hey! The house we hope to open one day... CHANGE THE NAME! I want it to be called Mona's House". Ramona's is the epitome of hope to me. She knew in her heart that things would get better for her-- and everyday they are.
One day she will be reunited with her family (that's an entirely different story). What I want you to take away from this story is what Mona's gave to me. Please know, no matter what you are facing... tomorrow will be better than today, and two days from now will be better that tomorrow. Each day will get brighter.
This is why I named our restoration home Mona's House... because HOPE lives HERE.
Yours in the fight,