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Morgan Weibel_Circle_WebWe have an opportunity. When I say ‘we,’ I’m talking about Tahirih Baltimore. I’m talking about doctors, attorneys, and non-profits in Baltimore. I’m talking about the whole state of Maryland.

Thanks to the “Empowering Survivors of Torture” grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, we have the opportunity to work together state-wide to give survivors of torture the standard of services they deserve.

I am proud to report that since we launched the project in early 2016 with our grant partners Asylee Women Enterprise and Intercultural Counseling Connection, we have equipped 346 professionals including lawyers and clinicians with the tools they need to provide trauma informed services to torture survivors in Maryland. In the same time period, survivors of torture received 126 unique services including housing, counseling, job and professional skills courses, and legal services through grant funded activities.

This is an incredible feat for survivors in our state: If each survivor in Maryland receives services from only one of our partner agencies, then a minimum of 133 survivors will be served per year, improving the lives of nearly 400 torture survivors over the next three years.

Many of these courageous survivors bear physical scars, but all bear the invisible scars of unimaginable trauma that merit very specialized care. High-caliber, client-informed services are key to a survivor not only accessing justice, but also having the ability to rebuild his or her life in safety and with dignity.

The “Empowering Survivors of Torture” project has enabled us to go above and beyond for this vulnerable population, increasing our resources and ability to serve them better. And this is only the beginning.

Together, we in Maryland have an unprecedented opportunity to help hundreds of brave survivors rebuild their lives. It feels so good to say we’re seizing it.