A few months ago Ruth’s House, Compassion First’s operational aftercare facility in Indonesia, was directly impacted by historic flooding that elevated waters 10-12 feet, destroyed homes, and displaced nearly 80,000 people. Our staff and residents had little time to haul belongings, office supplies, and program materials to the only second story room of Ruth’s House, where they rode out the storm huddled together. They were evacuated by rescue boat at 2:30am and safely escorted to Sarah’s House—our newest leased, beautiful and spacious home for survivors.
While this new facility is much larger and better suited for our program needs, it was not ready for operations at the time of the flood. In an effort to help accelerate the transition and make Sarah’s House safe and secure, communities have deployed renovation teams and individuals have given special gifts. The aid response has been both encouraging and humbling.Our staff is committed as ever to keeping the girls enrolled in their programs and activities. And despite the constant drum of hammers, drills and opportunity for distraction, our girls are thriving in their new environment.
Your contributions are helping us purchase new bunk beds, repair roofs, provide new clothing for the residents, rebuild our kitchen and so much more! We hope you enjoy our report pictures.There is still much work to be done! We will continue to generate updates and keep you informed on the continued progress. For now, thank you for helping us rebuild.
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
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Assistant to Bickey Lloyd