Survivor Stories

Overcoming Persecution: Story of Younis Family Resilience

My name is Younis Masih, and my wife Shanaz and I have eight children. We used to live in a small village, where I worked as a farmer for very low wages. It was hard work, but it was honest and it allowed us to provide for our family.

When my oldest daughter came of age for marriage, I faced a dilemma. I had no way to afford a proper wedding for her, and I was worried that she would never find a husband without one. That’s when an individual approached me with a proposition.

The man was the owner of a brick kiln, and he offered to pay me wages comparable to my farm work and give me a loan to cover the wedding expenses. It was a tempting offer, but I had a feeling that something wasn’t right. Still, I couldn’t see any other way out, so I accepted.

As it turned out, the man’s offer was too good to be true. When I started working at the kiln, the owners only gave me half of the wages, claiming that the other half was for paying back the loan. This left our family in even more dire circumstances than before.

If that wasn’t bad enough, despite giving over half my wages, the amount I owed on the loan kept increasing. I soon realized that the owners were using the loan as a way to keep me and my family in debt and under their control.

The conditions at the kiln were horrific. We were expected to work seven days a week, and as Christians, we weren’t even allowed to go to church. Our movements were heavily monitored and restricted, and if we didn’t cooperate, we were beaten and humiliated.

Even when there was less work to be done, the owners would force us to do things that we found degrading, like massaging them. There was an incident where my wife fell sick, and when I tried to take her to the hospital, the owners said I had to work. I ignored their demands and took her, but when I returned, they beat me mercilessly, breaking my arm.

The normal events of mourning and celebration that kept our family together were not allowed at the kiln. It was just constant work, and it destroyed our relationship with the rest of our family. Over the years, I watched as my loan increased by five times, and I feared that we would never be free.

That’s when Redeem the Oppressed learned about our situation and reached out to us. They established contact and, with the stealth of the night, took us out of that situation and region. They got us a normal job and helped us rebuild our lives.

Looking back on our experience at the kiln, Shanaz and I realized that we had been trapped in a cycle of poverty and exploitation, and it had taken the intervention of Redeem the Oppressed to break us free. We were grateful for their help, and we hoped that our story would inspire others to speak out against injustice and abuse.

If you have been moved by our story and want to help other families like ours, please consider donating to them. Your support can make all the difference in the world for families trapped in situations like ours. Together, we can bring an end to exploitation and abuse and give people the chance to live a life of dignity and respect.

By Max Gibson

Max Gibson, also known as Mosheh, holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and has competed on his college's crew, cross country and track and field teams. Max co-founded the College Republicans and has run successful businesses, including Apex Web Services, which serves as CTO for non-profits Farrukh Saif Foundation and 'Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved.' He has been in a leadership position in the non-profit sector since 2011. In addition to his business pursuits, Max is a combat veteran of three major wars and is known for his generosity and strong belief in God.
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