Millions of people around the world remain in bondage-among them, women and children forced into the sex industry, driven by poverty, abuse, and crime. We must resolve to act, and to act is to have compassion.
Whitaker/Ellis has challenged Compassion First Everyday Advocates to raise $50,000 in recognition of this month and in honor of women and children everywhere. For every dollar you give, they will match 100% (up to $50,000)!
Being an Everyday Advocate means doing what you can, with what you have, for the sake of others; it means you have decided to walk alongside us, as we walk alongside women and children everyday.
Here's what you can do this month:
We have until February 1, NATIONAL FREEDOM DAY, to reach our goal.
For the sake of others!
After a year in the residential program at Ruth's House in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, Zhella* elected to enter into Compassion First's community-based program and move home. While the community-based program invites a higher risk set of circumstances for a survivor, it also is part of a progression for all survivors as successful graduation and reintegration are necessary steps toward the recovery of their future.
Risks understood, Compassion First staffers were there for Zhella. When a threshold of too many days without communication was crossed, her Case Worker quickly set up a home visit. In this setting of safety, Zhella was able to express that she felt the best place for her was back at Ruth's House.
Each child we serve is unique and requires an individualized plan that we own together with her. We count the journey with each one a sincere blessing. With the assistance of security and her Case Worker, Zhella returned to Ruth's House where she will likely stay until she goes to college or vocational training school. It is a story of provision for one. At the same time, it is a story of progress where a trafficking survivor is coming into a full understanding that she is the owner of her future.
We thank you for letting us serve these survivors who are on such an incredible journey. Our house is full. It's going to be a great Christmas!
For the sake of others,
Throughout the court proceedings, a CF case-work staff member noted a transformation occurred within the two young trafficking survivors. "We thought the girls would feel down and ashamed to testify in front of the judges and the perpetrator," the case-worker says. "But we were [encouraged by] the way they have big motivation to speak."
This is the first case in which CF survivors have testified since the installation of a comprehensive legal interaction process designed to both protect and empower trafficking survivors as they testify against their traffickers. As the girls testified, they were accompanied by CF staff and supporters, including their house moms, social workers, counselor, attorneys, and personal security. Also the trial was not open to the public, which stopped the trafficker's accomplices from threatening the girls and members of the court-as is known to happen. With this freedom, the girls were able to testify the truth.
Friday's convictions come as a result of these girls' courage to speak, but also follows a positive increase in collaboration between CF staff, police investigators, and prosecutors-all of whom have participated in CF's and the Portland Police Bureau's partnered law enforcement training initiatives in Indonesia.
Join us as we celebrate this step forward toward justice in the courts and for increased freedom and healing for the girls.
If you also have chosen to partner with CF in prayer, please pray this Tuesday brings the verdict for another of our girl's cases. Pray:
Thank you for your support of Compassion First, and thank you for being an everyday advocate.
Last week Compassion First Indonesia received licensure from the Indonesian Department of Education to become a fully operational community learning center or "pusat kegiatan belajar mengar" (PKBM). This achievement is the culmination of a prolonged two-year effort to gain an alternative education format specifically for minor sex trafficking survivors being served by Ruth's House, Compassion First's primary aftercare facility.
Prior to this, the only way to fully re-engage a girl in her education was to attempt reintegration into the public school system. This option presented sincere client difficulties, which included both security and flight risks. Additionally, CF clients faced great difficulty in their efforts to formally catch up to their appropriate grade levels. Having an officially endorsed Community Learning Center within the walls of Ruth's House now allows for full educational flexibility for CF clients. Girls now have the ability to engage their catch-up work, state testing, as well as the pursuit of an individualized education plan specific to their individual needs, dreams, and personal goals. Additionally, CF is able to offer supplemental curriculum including English, music, computer skills, field trips, job exposure, and career preparation classes. These additional classes provide a more rounded education experience.
Keren Baldwin is the CF Director of Programs. She has led the team effort toward academic licensure with the assistance of an in-house professional teaching staff at Ruth's House. Comprehensive care for minor sex trafficking victims is a new concept on every front in Indonesia. As such, each component in cooperation with the government is presented with the challenge of precedent and the gaining of approval for that which has never been done before. It is a major point of progress in the continued development of an overall frontline program for both residential and community based clients being served by CF.
We couldn't have reached this monumental achievement without you. Thank you for your continued support!
Mike & The Compassion First Team
Our girls are participating in a Christmas outreach this year. Why? Because to be loved is wonderful, but learning how to love others is extraordinary; it is both healing and transformative--the very stuff that can change one's life trajectory forever.
For those of you who do not know me, my name is Bickey Lloyd and I work for Compassion First. I just returned from Indonesia. My recent visit was supposed to be short, mainly to gather information for our "Holy Night" Christmas campaign that we are coordinating for impoverished cemetery sex-workers (see more info below). Somehow my ten day stay turned into four weeks and I was set to the task of coordinating Christmas activities for the clients of Ruth's House.
I LOVE Christmas! Christmas is all about family, friends, eating, laughing and most importantly about the fulfillment of an incredible gift--the gift of love here on earth.
For some, like the clients in Ruth's House, Christmas is not as special. Some of the girls have very broken families, and broken little spirits.
When I looked at the girls and spent time with them, I could not help but see my younger self. They are teenagers, struggling with the loss of their childhood and dealing very courageously with their trauma inflicted wounds.
I was just like them when I was younger-- but something, someone, changed the trajectory of my life forever. What changed my life was not something necessarily spoken, it was not hammered into my skull, I was not told that I needed to be disciplined, that I had a rebellious spirit, and that I should change my attitude for the betterment of my soul. What changed my life was experiencing, seeing, and participating in the gift of love.
Two days ago, the girls and staff of Ruth's House brought handmade crafts, gifts and activities for the children of Sayap Kasih--a small orphanage housing disabled children. Altogether, they sang and played their little hearts out to all our favorite Christmas songs. You can view a short slideshow of our first Ruth's House Christmas Outreach 2012 here! Already, the CF Staff is seeing incredible changes. The girls have all asked if they can go back to Sayap Kasih on a regular basis, and one of our clients actually asked if she could adopt a child she had especially connected with. She now knows what love is-- and that is what Christmas is all about--the gift of love here on earth. Your contributions keep this transformational work going. Please consider a Year-End Gift and may you and your family have a most wonderful Holiday Season!
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