A Safe Home
A Safe Home
Written by Joel and Stephanie Midthun, Executive Directors of Courage House Tanzania
As we continue with our year end campaign to raise $150,000 by January 15th, we wanted to highlight some of our programs here at Courage Worldwide and introduce you to the impact they are having on the issue of sex trafficking, and more important, the impact they are having on the lives of the young victims we serve. The following is an update from Joel & Stephanie Midthun, our Directors in Tanzania, Africa. In Tanzania, Joel and Steph are responsible for providing oversight and leadership for our two residential homes – one for minor aged victims of sex trafficking and the other for our over 18 year olds who are transitioning to jobs or college. In addition, the Midthuns oversee our preschool, our on-site school, the Leadership Academy & Sewing Center as well as the opening of our new Courage Café and Events Center. In the following update, they want to share with you a bit about Courage House… it’s a home.
- Jenny Williamson CEO Courage Worldwide, Inc.
Courage House; A Safe Home.
The Lord will keep you safe from harm - He will watch over your life.
- Psalm 121A Safe Haven; a place of refuge. Safety; Protected from or not exposed to danger. In Swahili the word safe is “usalama.” That’s what we offer young vulnerable girls at Courage House. A victim of human trafficking – specifically sex trafficking – has not felt safe in a long time, if ever in their young lives. The girls who come to call Courage House home do not know what it means to feel safe in a home. They have not been protected. They’ve been used, abused and sold for sex as if they have no value. They are labeled by their community and families as “bad”, “evil” and “cursed”. That all changes when they come home to Courage House.
When a young girl walks through the doors of Courage House for the first time we say to them welcome home daughter - you are now safe and you are loved.
We recently brought a young girl of 11 years old, home to Courage House. She is in great danger. There are people in her village who want to kill her so she can't testify against her perpetrators, who were recently jailed. This is not uncommon whether in Tanzania or the U.S. We have had numerous girls who call Courage House home in hiding from people that want to silence and hurt them.
You are my hiding place, you protect me from trouble, and surround me with songs of deliverance.
We take safety very seriously at Courage House. The safe house locations are undisclosed. We have security cameras, and in Tanzania, we have guards at night and day, protecting the girls, their children and our staff. We are careful with social media postings ensuring we do not show their faces or identities. We have very strict policies with regard to staff or residents disclosing the home location and we don’t allow visitors to the property. We are very protective of those trusted to our care. Daily we pray for their safety... and our own. The danger to our girls, our staff and ourselves is real. The perpetrators of this crime have much to lose. There are lives literally at stake. Before we can equip, encourage and empower these young girls to be and do all God created them to we must ensure their basic needs are met – safety, food, clothing, medical attention and their mental health issues are all addressed at Courage House. However, first and foremost when asked about Courage House all our girls mention they feel safe for the first time in their lives.
“At Courage, I found people I trust. When I had struggles, they helped me and showed real love to me. All my needs are met. I have a good, safe and protected place to live - it’s a good place to learn about Jesus…”
- “Ella” one of our first girls at Courage Tanzania, who is now employed at our sewing center and in training to be a manager.
“First of all, I feel loved and I feel free because people are caring for me. They saw me for what I could be - successful and prosperous.”
- “Brenda” is 18 years old and has been at Courage Tanzania for 3 years and is now in our transitional living program.
Joel and Stephanie Midthun, Executive Directors Courage Worldwide Tanzania