My Oasis, My Story

“Sarah’s is the world in one home.” ~Amareche, former resident

Personal journeys.  Inspiring Women.

You educate a man, you educate an individual. You educate a woman, you educate a nation” -Dorcas 

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Mandesa learned she would never see her mother alive again after the terrorists raided her small home town not far from the East African coast. For Mandesa, this was only the latest in a series of painful events that shaped a life of constant movement and fear. Mandesa was first raped at the age of 13 by a government soldier. Her only brother, just a child, was brutally beaten and abducted into a child army. She never slept through the night without waking in a panic. With determination and cunning, Mandesa escaped, and like many torture survivor, carried deep physical and psychological wounds. She needed to find a way to survive even though she had no resources or family support. As an asylum seeker in the United States, Mandesa was barred from public housing or financial emergency services. Not eligible to work, she could not afford food or basic health care. A fear of being returned to her oppressors and a post-traumatic fear of institutional detention made it nearly impossible for her to seek help. Then she found Sarah’s and has built a new life for herself. Living at Sarah’s and participating in Sarah’s community-based service model provided Mandesa with the resources she needed to become self-sufficient and self-empowered.


I have been in the USA for one year. I have been at Sarah’s for almost five months. I decided to come here because I needed a peaceful place to live. I want to rebuild my life at Sarah’s. Being at Sarah’s so far, I see a dramatic progress in my life. I am improving my English: speaking, writing and reading. I attend college readiness at International Institute in Minnesota to get ready for college this fall. Staying at Sarah’s, I have to do my household chores and also care for and share with others. I have also learned a lot of things from the women, and I am integrating into the new culture. Every Wednesday we have dinner and eat together. It’s a big family that cooks, shares and eats foods from different countries together. Overall, I hope to accomplish my goal, which is to go to college.  I find peace, joy, safety and hope at Sarah’s. I am so grateful to all the staff members for their support and help (physical, mental and spiritual).


I was born in Minnesota, and I was so happy to come to Sarah’s. My favorite part of Sarah’s is having dinner together. I enjoy hearing the women talk to each other. I found out about Sarah’s through a friend. I am happy to no longer be controlled, enslaved, and used. With the help of Sarah’s, I am learning to stand up tall, and I am accomplishing my goals. My dream is that one day all of the women of Sarah’s will find peace, and that women will not be judged for their biology, but rise up, unbind-ed, free, healed and healthy.  


Staying in Sarah’s home is a wonderful time. We respect and help each other. Occasionally, we receive gifts, especially during the holidays. Each gift is such a surprise! I love Sarah’s house and I appreciate everyone at Sarah’s. Thank you for being here. God bless you all!


I thank Sarah’s a lot. I am able to get up and go through each day with my head up because Sarah’ s made me stronger. I may not have achieved my all goals in life; but have never fallen into that dark, lifeless hole again. Been through worse than when I came to Sarah’s but I outlived it. Thank you for the love and support. 

Stories from Former Residents of Sarah’s:        Jeniffer         Renuka     

Former Resident Amara

Sarah’s is a good place and helped me a lot. I will never forget Sarah’s house. My life changed. I did not speak or write English when I came to Sarah’s, and they helped me to so to school. I had food, clothes, a bus card–everything I needed to accomplish my goals. I was unhappy when I came to Sarah’s house, but Sarah’s house gave me happiness. In school I studied computers and then I studied nursing assistant. I have job, and my life has changed. The safety and quiet at Sarah’s house helped me so much. I love you. Thank you. 

Former Resident Dove

I have received my approval for asylum. I am happy and appreciative for your support. I have a good job and I am excited about my future. Please give my love to everyone at Sarah’s and all the Sisters.

Former Resident Sanaa

It has been a blessing for me to stay at Sarah’s home, especially during the time I was desperate; Sarah’s gave me support and helped me with everything I needed. I want to thank Cheryl (Sarah’s Director) for helping me with different aspects of my life. Because of your support I was able to have my own apartment and lead a very happy life. Thanks you!

*Names have been changed for privacy.