Greece: The Melissa Network – Advocating for Women

Submitted by Alexis Garhart on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Athens, Greece sponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures…

The experience I had at the Melissa Network was life-changing. It was amazing to hear about the struggles of the women from Afghanistan. One woman shared her story of giving birth in Afghanistan and being told that her baby girl was not worth saving. She fought the doctors at the hospital to give her baby a chance and it saved her baby’s life. As her story was being shared, I tried to put myself in her place and think about myself going through the very same struggle, which brought me to tears. While reflecting on her story, I realized that her experience with her baby girl at the hospital happened when she was 19, which is one year younger than I am now. I was sad that an amazing woman had to experience such terrible things, but I also felt happy that she found the Melissa Network, which gave her a voice and a new start. Hearing from the wonderful ladies and getting to tour the building really put everything I have experienced into perspective and inspired me to look for more ways to be an advocate for other women.

A poster that says “Wish-Tree” with wishes and goals of immigrant women hung on the wall of the Melissa Network