Dilafruz “Dilia” Samadova, who fled an arranged marriage from Tajikistan, a Central Asian country at the age of 21, recently completed a bachelor’s degree program in early childhood education.
Samadova who’s currently 30, was able to escape the arranged marriage with help from friends and the United States embassy, she was able to secure an American work visa while seeking asylum.
According to Dilia, she met her husband on her wedding day, and with help from friends, was able to escape Samadova, secure a divorce and acquire an American work visa before being granted asylum.
She further noted that a group of Catholics in Ohio, including several in Stark County, have helped her to rebuild her life and assist her during the period she attended Walsh University.
Samadova, currently 30 years of age, recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree and noted she intends to work with children as an intervention specialist.
In addition to school, Samadova works two jobs, one as a teacher’s assistant at Our Lady of Peace Catholic School in Canton. At the same time, she is preparing for graduate school at Walsh University.
Dilia’s early days in the US
Dilia grew up in a Muslim household in Tajikistan but converted to Catholic religion after fleeing to Ohio in 2011. Her religion is among the reasons she says she could never return to her home country.
According to her, Tajikistan is a very patriarchal country. Her mother, and four sisters, all live the same way, with no rights. A girl child was not allowed to go to college, but she always wanted to go to school.
She also noted that her arranged marriage was done when she was 15, but it got abusive, physically and emotionally, which pushed her to flee.
Samadova noted on her to the US she could not speak English which made things a bit difficult. But when she moved to Ohio, she got a job as a hotel housekeeper.
According to her:
The only English I knew was a pillowcase, blanket. I learned by myself. I bought an iPhone and listened to TV.
She soon took a second job, cleaning a house for an Italian immigrant named Mamie Kolar.
Kolar a Catholic helped her studied the religion for two years before she decided to become a Catholic. Kolar died in 2013, but her son and daughter-in-law continued to help Samadova.
They urged her to attend Terra State Community College in the Ohio town of Fremont. She completed a two-year study program in early childhood education and from there furthered the remaining of her studies.
Arranged marriage Tajikistan
Arranged marriage is a common phenomenon in Tajikistan. In rural areas, marriage and wedding tend to follow traditional customs, many marriages are arranged, and traditional wedding ceremonies and celebrations are held.
Couples usually move in with the groom’s family until they get a house of their own. While in urban areas, more Soviet-Russian style marriage and wedding customs are present.
Couples often marry in a civil ceremony and have little or no say in their choice of an arranged marriage partner.
The courtship, engagement and wedding process among Tajiks is even more complicated, with methods of choosing the spouse, courtship, proposal, engagement and many other processes left in the hands of the parents.
Featured Image from: CantonRep