In Sydney’s south, the quiet of Gilan’s home is broken by screams of delight.
After years of searching for a job, Gilan has been offered a role with Wesley Mission Tenancy. This is the last step in a journey that began in Egypt and took her and her children to Libya and finally Australia.
Gilan, a single mother abandoned by her husband, had faced challenges in Egypt because she was a Christian. This caused tension with people of other faiths—most of all, when she was working as a lawyer and abducted by a corrupt legal client who tried to force her to convert to Islam and beat and slashed her with a knife when she refused.
The captors took Gilan to hospital where the knife wound was stitched. But her abductors kept a vigil just outside the room. Gilan could only escape after a miraculous turn of events in which she was visited by a non-Muslim woman who led her past the captors to safety.
Gilan knew that she could not stay in Egypt as it was simply too dangerous for her and her children. The family fled to Libya—but civil unrest there meant they could not stay long.
The next option? Australia, a place she thought would offer safety and security.
But once arriving in Sydney, the family ended up living in motels and cars.
“I couldn’t find help from anyone,” she said. “I was struggling to find a place.”
A friend told her about Women and Girls Emergency Centre (WAGEC), which helped Gilan find a place to live. The children began attending a local public school and Gilan found a church. She also began studying.
After two years in transitional housing, Wesley Mission’s Tenancy Worker Liesa Davis secured Gilan a unit in a Wesley Community Housing block, providing the family with longer term accommodation.
Liesa remembers the time she first met Gilan, when she was desperately searching for long-term accommodation. She prayed with her that God would open a door. The next day, Liesa phoned Gilan to tell her that the recently renovated social housing unit had become available.
“Gilan started crying on the phone,” Liesa said. “It was a beautiful answer to prayer.”
With a safe home and a new job, this Easter will be full of promise for Gilan and her family…nothing less.