A house giving hope
It’s hard to imagine being part of a family which is so desperate for money that they force you to become part of the sex trade. Sadly this is the reality for some young women living in Nicaragua. As a result of this exploitation they suffer emotional harm and their health is put at risk. Fortunately, for the last three years, there has been hope for some of these women in the form of Casa Rahab (Rahab’s House).
Valeria Lopez (pictured, far right), Casa Rahab’s founder, started the centre in the city of Granada, having seen that young women living there were particularly at risk due to the increasing number of tourists who visit the city looking for sex. Valeria and her team help those who have been, or are at risk of being, involved in the sex trade to rebuild their lives and regain their self-esteem by providing them with a safe, Christian environment.
Each of the young women who arrives at Casa Rahab is interviewed by Gabriela, the centre’s psychologist. She plans a programme of individual therapy for each one designed to help them recover from the trauma they have experienced. In group sessions the team help the young women to re-imagine their lives, thinking about what they would like to achieve and what sort of people they want to be.
As well as these individual and group counselling sessions the women are given support to deal with any problems they are having with their families. Sometimes the team are also able to work with the families themselves and offer them parenting classes.
Education is a very important part of the programme at Casa Rahab. Each of the young women is encouraged to attend school and to take their studies seriously.
They are given support with their school work during daily sessions at the centre and, if they need it, they are given additional help to catch up with any schooling which they have missed. Valeria and the team talk to them about how getting a good education will help them to build a brighter future for themselves.
The women are taught life skills, such as how to take care of a home and how to cook healthy meals. In order to help them support themselves financially they are also given vocational education. Natalia, the centre’s sewing teacher, teaches the young women how to make items like purses and jewellery holders which they can sell at the local markets.
As she works with these young women Valeria says that she notices important changes in them. Many of the women arrive at Casa Rahab full of anger and resentment at having been abandoned or treated badly by their families. As they begin to see that the team are committed to helping them their attitudes begin to soften and they become less aggressive.
Valeria says that another change is that the young women are able to reintegrate into the education system, giving them a chance of a better future. Perhaps most movingly Valeria says that she notices a difference in the women’s eyes which go from being dull, reflecting their feelings of depression, to having a glimmer of hope.
How you can help
SIFT supports the work of Casa Rahab by funding the salaries of the centre’s psychologist, Gabriela (left) and sewing teacher, Natalia (right). If you would like to make a one-off donation towards these costs please either send a cheque to the SIFT office or make a donation via the SIFT website. Alternatively if you would like to help support the work of Casa Rahab on an ongoing basis by making a monthly donation please get in touch with Ali Wilson (email@example.com or 01297 22484).
Health for all
Dr Sandra and our seven nurses work very hard to ensure that everyone who comes to one of our clinics on the island of Ometepe gets the best care possible. Their hard work and commitment has earned them the respect and trust of the communities they serve.
None of the things which our medical team do every day would be possible without the donations which we receive from individuals, churches and other organisations in the UK. Despite this generous support, raising sufficient funds to continue this important work is a constant challenge. Last month you should hopefully have received a letter from Colin Weaver, SIFT’s UK Director, which included our new ‘Health for All’ leaflet. This outlines the activities carried out at our health clinics as well as including ideas of how individuals can support our medical team.
Please consider whether you can support this work yourself or whether you can pass the leaflet on to someone else who may be interested. If you would like more copies of the leaflet please get in touch with the SIFT office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 01297 22484).
A Voice for SIFT
Our Voice for SIFT scheme is designed to enable our supporters to promote SIFT in their local areas in ways which suit their skills and the time they have available. Being a Voice for SIFT could mean putting some of our literature in your local Christian bookshop, showing a presentation to your church or any other way to promote SIFT you can think of. We will help you to research opportunities to promote SIFT if you wish and provide resources such as publicity leaflets, videos, photos and presentations.
We are pleased that nine people have signed up to be Voices for SIFT so far. We want to raise awareness of SIFT’s work in as many towns and villages as possible so we are still looking for more people to volunteer. If you would like to be a Voice for SIFT or would like to know more please contact Ali Wilson (email@example.com or 01297 22484).
Staying in touch with you…
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on May 25th. This means that if you want us to continue sending you the SIFT Insight and other SIFT news then we need your permission to do so. You can do this by either returning the form that we sent you earlier this month or by filling in the online form at www.seed-trust.com/gdpr. Thank you!
News from the Trustees
After seven years as a Trustee and two as the Board’s Chair, Chris Anderson has stepped down due to work and family commitments. Throughout Chris has given his time sacrificially, growing in his desire to serve the poor of Nicaragua. As Chair he has steered SIFT through some challenging issues with prudent and Godly advice. His connection with SIFT hasn’t ended as he has kindly agreed to be a “Voice for SIFT”. We thank Chris for all his work for SIFT, praying God’s blessing on him, his wife Jacqui and the family.
Mark Catley, who has been a Trustee since SIFT started in 2002, has kindly agreed to be the new Chair of Trustees.
We are pleased to announce that SIFT is now registered with the Fundraising Regulator. The Regulator’s role is to set and promote the standards for fundraising practice, to investigate fundraising where it has led to significant public concern and to enable the public to manage their contact with charities. As a member of the Fundraising Regulator SIFT adheres to the Code of Fundraising Practice and is committed to fundraising in an open, honest and respectful manner.