Courage House Tanzania

Courage House – a long term residential program for minor victims of sex trafficking – is one of the first of its kind in Tanzania, Africa.

In our research and meeting with government agencies, we found out that Courage House is one of three homes in the entire country that is trauma focused and specifically caters to the unique needs of minor victims of sex trafficking.  In the country of Tanzania, there are few resources dedicated to the aftercare of victims.  Though Tanzania has strong laws against the trafficking of children, the government is just now beginning to enforce the laws, identify victims and look for more strategic ways to prevent this crime.

The need is so great in Tanzania; hundreds of girls are being trafficked nightly in the small, rural town of Moshi where Courage House calls home. Like in the U.S. and other countries around the world, hard data is difficult to find on just how many children are being trafficked and how many are vulnerable to this type of exploitation. Recently a high level government official reported to CWW that 500 girls were recovered who were trafficked to India, with no safe place for them to go to begin the long journey of healing. CWW is fostering relationships with organizations who specialize in sting and rescue operations as well as working diligently to expand after care homes and services in this country.

CWW has had a presence in Tanzania since 2008, becoming a registered Non-Government (NGO) in 2009.  CWW works closely with the Social Welfare Department to ensure compliance of all child welfare and government regulations as well as pursuing partnership and training opportunities with regard to the issue of sex trafficking.

In 2011, Courage House Tanzania opened and was immediately home to 10 girls and 2 babies. In 2012, Courage House Tanzania moved from the rural bush area to an area outside of Moshi – a town located at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro – to be able to provide additional services and recruit additional employees.  As of May 2017, 12 girls and 2 of their babies – now toddlers – call Courage House home.  Our current location, allows for a capacity of 18 residents.  Fundraising efforts are underway to recruit, hire and train additional staff so that expansion of 6 additional residents can occur by year end 2017.  To date 28 girls have called Courage House Tanzania home.

Recently, CWW was blessed by a partner church in Southern California who raised funds to make the dream of owning land in Africa a reality. Watch the video below to hear Pastor Nathan Hoff and his wife’s inspiring story.

This land purchase is critical for providing stability, structure and a place to come back to, for young girls and women who have been exploited sexually.  This place – this home – this land– allows them an opportunity to have a place to begin their journey of healing; a permanent place to call home.

The property is approximately 2 acres, with 3 current structures and room for more – which we have the approved architectural renderings for. 

Once the build-out is complete, Courage House Tanzania will be able to accommodate 40 girls on its campus.  Plans are to move the current residents to the property after repairs and renovations are complete in January 2018.  At that time, additional funds will be raised to increase the staff and operating budget to accommodate more girls.   Local materials, labor and western volunteer teams and donations will be utilized to build-out the property.

Following the Courage House prototype, structures will be built as needed and will be consistent with the community and culture of the area, while maintaining the prototyped family environment. Additional structures will be added for staff and volunteer housing, increasing our ability to hire qualified staff and accommodate volunteer teams.

Specific acreage will be allocated for agriculture and the raising of livestock to create a consistent food source for Courage House as well as providing agricultural skills for the residents, and a continual revenue source for CWW in Tanzania. In addition, CWW would be able to be a good neighbor and community partner as we become a food source for widows and orphans in the surrounding community.

A Day at Courage House.

As prototyped for each Courage House, whether in U.S. or international homes, the residents’ needs are uniquely addressed on an individual basis.  Their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs are all a part of their Unique Life Plan (ULP) where goals are set for each of these areas of their life.  Residents at Courage House receive an education from credentialed teachers, counseling from compassionate professionals, as well as life skills and English lessons. Music and art are culturally valued as well as emotionally healing methods of expression for the young residents.

The next phase for girls who make incredible progress at Courage House, is to transition to university level education, vocational boarding school, Courage Families, jobs and/or independent living arrangements.  CWW’s local social worker and case manager remain in relationship and communication with each of these girls in the community, providing the resources they need, to ensure a successful transition into independent living.   Younger girls remain home at Courage House, continuing their education and counseling, awaiting their new “sisters” to come home. 

Our expansion plans in Tanzania also include a Community Center and/or a Trauma Treatment Center to meet the needs in the community.  These centers will not only aid in victim identification but also provide resources to the community for counseling and training, as well as prevention. 

Community & Government Relations, Tanzania

Relationships and partnerships are at the core of CWW as an organization. This is especially true in Africa, where they place an extremely high value on relationships. Since 2008, when CWW first began work in Tanzania, intentional efforts were made to create partnerships within the local church and faith-based community as well as with business and government leaders. We wanted to accelerate and enhance the mission of the organization and vision, to rescue and restore children who have been trafficked or who are vulnerable to this evil.  Each year we provide trauma training, not only for our own staff but also for other NGO’s and government employees. 

CWW has trained hundreds of pastors on the crime of human trafficking and ways they can educate and train their own congregations. The request and response has been overwhelming, as CWW has been asked to increase our training and awareness efforts for pastors, women’s leaders and students at the university level.

Our goal is to increase those trainings and conferences to once a quarter due to the great demand within the community.  Our goal is to share our knowledge and experience as well as learn from others.

In 2017, CWW launched the Not in My Country Campaign, within the faith-based community, where the response was overwhelming, as pastors, their wives and congregations pledged to create a culture and country where it is intolerable for children to be sold for sex.  The Tanzanian government has also expressed interest in adopting this campaign for the entire nation of Tanzania.

CWW is excited about forming new relationships and partnerships with Tanzania government and inter-government agencies.  We are encouraged by the forward movement in Tanzania, their desire to effectively fight trafficking and their willingness to work together with our team.

With the increased partnerships and awareness of this crime within Tanzania, as well as the expansion plans for the aftercare program, CWW is excited to announce that a long time staff member Stephanie Midthun and her husband and board member Joel Midthun – will be moving to Tanzania, Africa full time, beginning July 9, 2017 to oversee all aspects of the operation there.

Continued efforts are under way to prototype the African Courage House and open homes across the continent of Africa, to realize the corporate vision of building 1000 homes in 100 countries during the next 10 years.

Ways to Volunteer. 

With the Midthun’s arrival in Tanzania full time, CWW will begin equipping, encouraging  and empowering volunteer teams in 2018, from around the world, who want to participate in our critical work in this beautiful country.  There will be opportunities to work in the community with our partners, provide expertise for our buildout and/or participate in a fundraising hike to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  If you are interested please email  info@courageworldwide.org.

Click here to read of our courageous Community Relations Director, Stephanie Midthun and her husband, Courage Worldwide Board Member Joel Midthun’s experience at Courage House Tanzania.  They went for a 3-month visit during March – May 2016.

When I wrote the song, Believe in Me in 2008 to tell “her” story (a girl being trafficked for sex) and be her voice, I had no idea how much that song and “her” story would affect my own. Read more…