They were sold by their father—two sisters, just 8 and 10 years old.
Sit on that sentence for a moment…their father sold them. For sex. To adult men in the area where they lived. Their neighbors probably knew. They had to. It was in their own backyard. When the Head Mistress of the school recognized the signs of exploitation, she courageously did something—took the girls to the hospital and then confronted the parents. Nothing changed. No. One. Cared.
Their FATHER sold them. A father is supposed to protect his daughters, but this father sold his—two of them. An 8-year-old and a 10-year-old.
Their abuse and trauma were so severe they didn’t know their ages or their birthdays, or have a safe family member who would take them in.
So, we did. We welcomed them home to Courage House this week. It is what we do.
Rescue is the easy part. Saying yes to “Can you take this child?” is easy for us. The hard part is saying no – so we don’t; even when we don’t have the resources. It is who we are.
The restoration part, however, is not so easy. Attempting to restore the innocence of a child and give them back their childhood is a long, difficult, and expensive process.
That is why we need you.
When we welcome girls to Courage House, it’s important that the first thing we do is assess their physical, emotional, mental, educational, and spiritual needs. This can look like many doctor appointments, medical treatments, educational assessments, new clothes and shoes, food, assigning a bed and dresser, trauma assessments, and treatment plans. This helps us create the best path forward for each individual girl. For our new residents, however, these assessments are performed by people who are strangers—caring strangers, but strangers nonetheless.
Can you even imagine what that feels like for these two sisters?
Yes, they are removed from a hideous situation but it is all they have ever known. These sisters also left behind 2 younger siblings who they miss terribly. They left the only home and family they have ever known and moved to a location they have never seen with people they don’t know and don’t trust. Everything is new, foreign, and scary.
Our mental health professionals tell us that it takes up to 6 months for these vulnerable children to begin to trust and feel safe. That is a very long and lonely time.
During those 6 months, we at Courage Worldwide are doing everything in our power to love them, care for them, and help them feel safe and loved. We want them to be children—to laugh and to play. We want them to know what it is like to have people care for you and believe in you. We want them to know what it feels like to go to bed at night and sleep peacefully with no fear of anyone invading your body.
Sadly, we continue to receive younger and younger children, like these sisters. We are also seeing younger girls coming to us who are pregnant and needing to raise their babies at Courage House.
Because of this, our organizational needs are changing and increasing. Last year we were so excited to announce that we have doubled our capacity! This means we have gone from caring for 30 young ones and their children to 60! While we celebrate this increase, this expansion also means our needs and budgets have increased.
- Our food cost has doubled. Our annual food budget will be right at $30,000.
- Our staff requirements have doubled. We need to hire additional counselors and social workers, as well as day and overnight staff. This will cause staffing to increase by $50,000 next year.
- Our need for beds and clothes has doubled. 30 more girls means 30 more beds, clothes, shoes, and places to store these personal items. These costs will be approximately $25,000 this year.
- Our school needs to double its capacity. We will need to hire more teachers, buy more desks, and acquire more school supplies. Educational costs will increase by $30,000.
- Our water and utility costs double with double the girls. This will add another $10,000 in 2022.
- Our medical costs significantly increase as we add girls. Sexually transmitted diseases, infections, and more are all a reality with sexual exploitation and abuse. Medical costs will be estimated at another $10,000.
- The needs of our residents’ children increase. We have 3 of our girls’ children at our on-site preschool who are now entering 1st grade. Their school fees will be $75 per month, per child, for 12 months for a total of $2,700. We also have new babies born at Courage House and need to increase our pre-school staff, which will add another $5,000 to our budget this year.
All these needs have increased but our monthly funding has not.
Regardless, we are not going to say no to children who have been sold and exploited solely because of a lack of funds.
We are a faith-based organization who believe we are called by God to rescue and restore these children. We believe as we act upon our faith, saying yes to children and expanding our buildings, all the funding we need will be provided by people just like you.
No one person can do it all, but each of us can do something. Each of us have a part to play if we are ever to see the world rid of this evil and witness these children be restored to be and do all they were created to be.
Like rescue, building a building is the easy part. Filling it up with vulnerable, traumatized children and having the resources to meet their daily needs is the difficult, expensive part.
Would you prayerfully consider giving to the restoration of these children and the expansion of our programs? Thank you.
Founder & CEO, Courage Worldwide
P.S. Today is International Women’s Day. We at Courage Worldwide are celebrating all the women around the world who have entered the difficult space of rescuing and restoring our young sisters who are silently suffering while being sold. We also celebrate the potential each woman has to be more and do more than she could ever imagine.