In 2006, our family moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento, California. We had lived in the Bay Area for 14 years. Our roots were deep and our community there felt like family. The move was due to the economic downturn many people in this country were experiencing at the time. However, in the midst of all the uncertainty, I felt God’s divine hand orchestrating and arranging my life for a greater purpose - though it surely didn’t look like it at the time.
With the move, I decided to start a new endeavor (life coaching) and a nonprofit called Courage to Be You, Inc. I was committed to helping people find their purpose! It was there in Sacramento that I first heard I lived in a world where children were sold for sex. I was wrecked emotionally and heart sick as I contemplated the pain and trauma these children had endured. My mother’s heart cried out to God “just do something” and I felt Him say to me “why don’t you?” I began to research the issue of child sex trafficking around the world as well as in my own backyard and learned of the severe lack of homes and services for this victim population.
They need a home!
It sounded so simple… build them a home and call them family. This is when the organization made a shift to focusing on helping victims of trafficking get the resources and help they needed to be and do all God created them to. Courage Houses… in every city around the world that needs one! Yes, my spirit cried… Courage Worldwide was birthed. Then reality set in. I vividly remember whispering out loud “how will we pay for all of this?” (Remember, we had just lost our home and the entire United States was going through one of the worst economic downturns in decades!)
How will we pay for it?
“Cafes… Courage Cafes. There will be a profitable café in every city where there is a Courage House so that we will not be donor dependent.” That is what I heard whispered deep in my heart so many years ago. I am literally laughing out loud because then I heard that still small voice of God saying “shout it out loud, build a website and declare its existence!” So, I did. In 2008, we launched a website that detailed Courage Houses and Courage Cafes – complete with photos. I received calls weekly asking me for the address of the Courage Café and where were the homes! Things happened pretty fast after that 2008 by faith launch! We opened not one but two Courage Houses at the same time – halfway across the world from each other. Northern California and Tanzania, Africa. We started with 6 girls in each home and have now grown to over 150 girls who at one time have called Courage House home… without a café to fund it. We received some state funds specific to the Northern California home but when we closed the home there for minors, those funds disappeared. We are now 100% dependent upon donors just like you to provide homes, an education, health and dental care, trauma therapy and counseling, tuition for college, vocational training AND to care for the children of our girls who come to us pregnant or already with a child of their own.
This journey has been an incredible one which has required water walking faith!
Now, 13 years after announcing our intention to build a home in every city around the world that needed one along with a Courage Café to help fund, we ARE opening the first Courage Café in Moshi, Tanzania, Africa. There was a group of donors who believe God called them to give towards the set-up costs of the café! (Thank you everyone!)
13 years I have waited to see the dream that was put on my heart become a reality. It is so exciting!
This café will help give our girls financial security as they have more employment opportunities which keep them from being re-exploited and trafficked while at the same time, it gives the community an opportunity to take care of their children who have been victimized by this crime. It is a place to put a face on the trafficking of children since we don’t – won’t – give tours of the safe house.
The café is Courage Worldwide’s physical presence in the community. It gives us a way to engage the public in an ongoing and consistent basis. This is crucial to raising awareness about the crime of sex trafficking and its long-term impact upon its victims. The café provides a tangible vehicle for patrons to participate in the rescue and restoration of children who have been trafficked for sex in the local community.
Our current expenses run right at $32,000 each month for the 24 minor girls and 4 children we have on our Courage House Tanzania campus right now. All which attend our on-site school! Yes, not only do we provide a home, we have a full academic program with the most qualified teachers. The trauma that our girls have experienced make it difficult to mainstream them in local schools. We have another 10 of our over 18 girls in college! Y’all, that is beyond amazing! Plus the over-18 home (Courage House Too) that allows us to provide the support these young women need when transitioning from a very structured daily routine to the freedom that all over 18’s want to enjoy. We have a vocational/leadership training program to ensure their success in independence.
Here in the U.S. we continue to pay for trauma therapy and/or counseling for any of our girls who once called Courage House home as well as help with their tuition, child care for their children, job training, food, diapers, mentoring etc. to those who want it. Here in the U.S., for any of our former residents to receive financial assistance they must be in therapy/counseling as well as complete an application requesting funds and/or services.
This is a lot of program for $32,000 a month! We have worked hard to decrease our organizational overhead so that your giving goes towards each and every girl and/or young woman who calls Courage House home. However, we don’t have reserves. We pray and believe this amount in each month.
Our prayer is that the Courage Café will offset our monthly budget, allowing us to expand; doubling our capacity to rescue and restore vulnerable victims from this evil crime. We need you. Historically, each late Spring and Summer we see a decrease in giving and donations. Would you prayerfully consider a financial donation? We don’t want to reduce any of the services, programs and resources we provide to these amazing children and young women! They need a safe home. They need a family. Therefore, we need you. Without your generousity for the last 13 years, there would not be over 150 children who have been rescued and restored, equipped and encouraged to be and do all they were created to. You are literally changing the world… one individual at a time. Thank you for your prayerful consideration. Blessings.
Jenny Williamson, Founder/CEO
Courage Worldwide, Inc.