Marta Resource Centre for Women

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DDA partners with Marta to support women and girls in Latvia.

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Practical Magic

Helena is only fifteen, but she knows. Knows what happened to Oksana, her older sister who answered an advertisement for a glamorous "model" job--then vanished into the trafficking network that imports and exports women and girls for sexual slavery.

She was nine then. Her parents never mention it, but she knows. Like she knows her father beats her mother, though they deny it. Do they think she hasn’t heard the fights and screams for years? Her grandmother doesn’t deny it–but scoffs it was the same in her marriage. “It’s normal,” she shrugs, “You’ll see.”

But Jelena knows differently. She’s been going to the Young Leaders Group for Girls at the Marta Centre. Now she knows families don’t have to fight all the time and beating is not normal. Now she wants to be glamorous less than to be educated and get a good job—and fight in court if denied access to one! Now she knows about lawyers and psychologists. Now she knows she’s intelligent, deserving of respect and friends.

She fantasizes coaxing her mother to Marta for counseling, even for divorce advice. She fantasizes the Centre might help rescue Oksana and bring her to psychological healing. She knows all this costs huge sums, but Marta doesn’t charge! It’s as if the help comes from magic.

It’s practical magic.

Because this is where Donor Direct Action comes in.

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