INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY_Marina: “We must accept ourselves and embrace our weaknesses”

Almost nothing had ever stopped her. The only thing that “halted” her, made her change direction and start something new. Her new-found purpose and direction come through her work as a lawyer at the Athens Solidarity Center of SolidarityNow: “Every day I interact with different people, learn new things and change“.

Marina at the age of 39, is not only a lawyer, but a wife and a mother of three children. She shares with us spontaneously moments and events from her life. Through her narration it becomes clear that Marina always challenged herself and questioned her choices; today, when looking back her life path so far seems to prove her right.

We must accept ourselves and embrace our weaknesses“, Marina sums up in her message to all women on the International Women’s Day. This was the leading force and factor that defined her choices at a crucial time in her life, which at the same time was also crucial for Greek society as a whole. Marina, as an open minded and sensitive woman, who was active in a technocratic working environment back then, was unable to remain unaffected by issues such as the economic crisis, the refugee and migration crisis and the dire consequences on people’s lives. When these crises were taking place, she had a very good job, she had her family, but she realized her need for a change in her career orientation and she chose to take the leap and do it. She accepts and embraces her sensibilities, transforms her skills and puts at work her scientific major, as a tool in order to offer to those that are the most vulnerable. She quickly became a volunteer in a humanitarian organization “I was keeping company to refugee or migrant children while their parents received help from the organization’s services. This interaction with the children was redeeming. I offered the love I had, and I have; I was communicating with children through music and games, but mostly through love“.

Alongside her volunteering, she recalled her interest for human rights law courses when she was a postgraduate student. Her job as a lawyer at the organization’s Solidarity Center in Athens is what answered to Marina’s need for change and purpose. She started in her position as a lawyer in November 2016 and tells us that “I was very anxious at the beginning. On the one hand, because the subject was new and on the other hand because of the emotional transition from the Center’s microcosm and the stories of our beneficiaries, back to my own reality; this was difficult for me. But I gradually loved the nature of work, the new knowledge I acquired, the interaction with people, and the mental fulfilment when changing people’s lives.

I work with people who have urgent needs, but I also get strength through them. I admire them for their strength and endurance. I’ve changed. I am more adaptable, gentler, more open in accepting others as they are, and feeling overall emotionally fulfilled. I firmly believe that when you give love and show empathy, you receive it back. This is the world, I try to introduce to my children as well“.

*The Athens Solidarity Center has been financed by SolidarityNow and Open Society Foundations (OSF/OSIFE) and supported by the Municipality of Athens.