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  • Writer's pictureMaria Alda Gomez Otero

10 lessons learnt from survivors of torture

When I was working in the Centre for Survivors of Torture in Dublin, Ireland, I learnt many lessons from the brave refugees and asylum seekers that were my clients. Not only they had to face the horrors from their past, but also their journey into getting their legal papers in Ireland and their uncertainty about their future. Most of them had been severely traumatised by political and army forces in their countries of origin. Some had to flee without being able to say goodbye to their spouses, children or elders, and didn't know their families' whereabouts. Most of them were helped by newly acquired friends and chance encounters. I learn so much from their courage and strength. Here are some lessons I learnt from them:

1. It’s possible to start from zero;

2. It is important to have a circle of friends;

3. Life is an adventure; anything can happen;

4. In life, you will be helped by unexpected people;

5. The present moment is precious, as life is often unpredictable;

6. Having death at the door is the best way to start fully embracing life;

7. Every human being is more afraid of the unknown than of the past;

8. Every human being is divine and strong;

9. There is an invisible force/energy/God that guides our lives;

10. We are all afraid of suffering and dying.

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