The past few months have been very busy for our team in Uganda. We have hired another Counselor, Jackie, for our Rescue Home, who has been doing an amazing job over the past few months in helping our girls rescued out of child prostituion heal from the trauma of their past through the use of tools such as play therapy, art, and talk therapy.
She reports, "The girls have been able to trust me; winning their trust at first was not easy but they’ve been able to begin really opening up. They now know they have someone to talk to, which makes me happy. Sometimes they come in the room and they don’t say anything they just lean on me and cry and I am able to hold them."
"One of the girls Espe, has really had a lot of growth. She tends not to be the most outgoing or social of the bunch, but you can see her passion, passion for music and dance as practices the routine that she has choreographed herself. I can see every day the walls she has built at such an early age to protect herself, coming down in her increasing smiles, and hear them crumbling with her laughter."
Because of this healing, over 80% of our rescued girls, who have not had any formal education in the past, are now in the top of their classes! We are very proud of them.
We also hosted another Counseling Seminar for people who have been traumatized by war in northern Uganda. Over 40 people attended, including men and women, and many reported increased levels of healing and happiness in their lives.
We're also seeing increased level of faithfulness to marital partners which is helping reduce the spread of HIV.
Out of this counseling class, we were also able to identify two new women to join our Imani program and receive the benefits of being rescued out of the sex trade and have dignity through work. One woman, Mary, was trafficked from Congo and forced into prostitution for survival. She is only 28 and already has 3 children and is HIV positive.
This job will mean she will be able to feed her children and put them into school for the first time.
Her deam is to be able to one day afford a home for herself, just like one of our other Imani women, Niclete.
Your dollars are changing lives every day.
Please continue to support this amazing and beautiful work of ending sexual exploitation and seeing people fulfill their dreams.
Girls & Women Have Value
Today in our daily news there are horrific stories of girls and women being exploited everywhere. Many are calling it the "moral issue of our time."
In the war-affected regions we work in, the issues of rape, exploitation, forced prostitution, and domestic violence are even more prevalent.
For many of these women and girls these atrocities make them believe they don't have value.
So what happens after these girls are rescued?
This is where we step in with rehabilitation efforts. Every day at Zion Project we are teaching girls and women that they are worth our love, time, resources, and energy.
Our counseling programs teach them that they are worthy and deserving of love and change the way they see themselves. It's also changing the way men see women.
Our education of girls is instilling personal value inside them at a young age.
We believe, it is these very same girls and women who will change the world.
Whether you are a stay at home mom raising up daughters and sons to respect women, or you are out there rescuing and teaching girls rescued out of sexual exploitation that they are valuable---we each have our part to play to fight for them!
Niclete Buys a House
One of our beautiful Imani women who has been in our Jewelry Employment Program for over a year has saved enough money to buy her own house!
This is a huge accomplishment for a woman who 2 years ago was struggling with depression and was going to be kicked out of a small shack she was renting.
Through healing, empowerment, and love, Niclete has been successful!
Rescued Girl Shares a Testimony
Through art, play, & talk therapy our girls are opening up more about their past and giving testimonies. Vanessa says, "I feel safe now that I won't be raped again."
This is just another reminder of why we do what we do.
Thank you for helping us!
Gloria is the first person in her family to complete nursery school. She's the first person in her family to give a speech at her graduation and stand with dignity that she was first in her class.
Because of you, Gloria has an opportunity at education that no one in her family has ever had. And this opportunity will afford her the chance to become the woman she's dreamed of becoming. She'll be less likely to get pregnant early. She'll be less likely to live in poverty. She'll be less likely to fall victim to the sex industry or a violent relationship.
All because she now has the self-esteem and dignity that an education has given her.
We're not just proud of Gloria. We're proud of all our girls rescued from sexual slavery, who now are in the top of their class excelling beyond our expectations. In December, we had 15 girls who were in the top five in their classes at one of the most prestigious schools in our area.
A lot of this comes down to the hard work and dedication of our Aunties, our tutors, our mentors, our volunteers, and most especially you---our donors who make it all possible!
We are also seeing our Imani women in our economic empowerment program beginning to give back in huge ways to their community. Every Wednesday they go on a community outreach where they share food from their own homes with women who are less fortunate. They are showing these women that they don't have to remain in poverty, but through hard work they can afford to leave the sex industry, rent their own homes, and put their own children in school. They are a beacon of light in a dark place.
Thank you for giving so that lives can be transformed and a country changed.
Last year, Niclete was just another woman in Uganda living in the slums, trying to provide for her family of growing children, alone. Last year, she did not have a job, or access to maternal health care. Last year, Niclete gave birth to a still-born baby boy, body too twisted. Last month, none of that came to mind as she held a precious, perfect new bundle - Joshua. Last month, she had a family surrounding her as we all welcomed this new little one into our fold.
She has money to buy him blankets because she has a job working for our jewelry program, Imani. She has sisters to surround her and hold her other babes, while she takes care of this new one. This is the miracle of love and the impact of your giving.
All the dusty trucks rides to hospitals, and doctor appointments, and sonograms are worth it. And if you still don't get why I do what I do--then you'll understand now. If you want to help us reach more women with our maternal health care programs we offer all our ladies, then you can give here.
You can be confident that it makes a difference in a woman's life, and the lives of her children, and each life adds up to make many. We are thankful for you and your generosity, and we have seen with our eyes the impact that you have made.
Last month, two of the women who have grown up in Zion Project were able to get married and commit their lives to a husband who loves them. It was a dream come true and an incredible testimony to what can happen when a heart gets healed.
One of our Imani women, Elizabeth, invited local government leaders, neighbors, and friends over to her home to celebrate after the wedding. A local government leader stood up and said something which made me so proud that we are seeing such transformation in our women’s lives:
He said: “I have seen a huge change in this community within Gulu over the past few years. I no longer see these women causing problems, but taking people in and helping others. Elizabeth is a very important part of our community because she takes in so many children who have no other place to go. I thank those of you who have been working in the slums with the prostitutes and this community, because there has been an incredible transformation. No longer do I see them in the discos or at the bars selling themselves or getting in fights, but taking children in, helping each other, and changing their community.”
These women are making a difference in their communities. Even the local government is starting to take notice, which is a huge leap from where they were 3 years ago when they evicted many women from their homes for doing prostitution.
It’s amazing to see the reality of multiplication: that a healed heart gives back.
After many months of searching, we have finally found the PERFECT new HOME for our GIRLS which is very spacious and gives us room to grow. Our desire is to help several more girls who are in need of a safe place to grow. However, before we can take in more girls, we are in need of sponsors! It costs an average of $209 per month to holistically care for 1 girl so that she can live in our safe home and receive an education, food, tutoring, mentoring, medical care, and lots of love from the Aunties! You can sign up to sponsor a girl for only $35 a month, which helps contribute to changing a girl’s life and preparing her for the future! For more information on sponsorship, contact Bethany at: Bethany@zionproject.org.
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