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Mana – Middle East
Mana was a landscape architect in the Middle East. In 1997, many municipal employees in Mana’s home town were arrested for political reasons. She was one of them. For 18 months, she was imprisoned and tortured. “I was in solitary all the time. I was like a blind person. I lost that time. I didn’t have any news from my family. As a single mother, I didn’t know the situation of my two kids.” Through the torture and the bad conditions of her imprisonment, Mana got into a really critical health situation. For this reason she was sent to the hospital from which she escaped to Turkey, then to the Netherlands where she stayed in a refugee camp. After four years, she was accepted by the United States as a refugee. In 2002 she arrived in San Diego.
Through SURVIVIORS Mana received medical and psychiatric care, as well as found a place to live. Mana says that SURVIVORS and other humanitarian organizations “are the only way that we can survive and adjust in this country. I think that SURVIVORS is my family, my second home. If they didn’t accept me and help me, I could have committed suicide or gone crazy. And it is not only me. There are many, many victims of torture who can get treatment, get lawyers.”
Mana is now a teacher in a school here in San Diego. She is thankful to be here and feels fortunate to have escaped, though many of her peers did not. “Most of them are in prison or executed. Or have a very bad situation. Many, many educated women, innocent people, are tortured-for nothing. I am the luckiest one that I am here.”