Like most of you, I often came upon people who were more than willing to be judgmental or rude towards single mothers who didn’t have the necessary means to support their children. Time and again, the same hard questions arise: ”What made them stay in such abusive relationships?”, ”Why did they continue having kids if they knew their financial situation was so bad?”, ”Why couldn’t they be more preoccupied about their education so that they could get a proper job?”. I was never one to cast the first stone, nor the second, nor the third but I must say that working alongside all the dedicated people at ACSIS and getting to know the mothers they help, I got even further away from passing even a shred of judgement. This was for me first and foremost an exercise in empathy, a lesson in humanity which many could do with, as well as a welcome reminder of the fact that life isn’t as simple as jumping to conclusions is.

I am truly humbled by everyone I met at ACSIS and through ACSIS: at the tailoring workshop, at fairs and exhibitions, at the homes I visited together with the social worker. Each and every one of them was an incentive for me to speak on behalf of those less fortunate, whose voices struggle to be

heard. For them and for those who do their best to help, I will strive to not become a product of my environment but instead to make the environment a product of myself.

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