Written by Sami, Courage House Tanzania Program Assistant
Courage Worldwide became a 501c3 nonprofit organization in 2005 under the name of Courage To Be You. We organized to equip, encourage and empower individuals to be and do all God created them to. In 2007, we learned we lived in a world where children were sold for sex and vowed to DO SOMETHING for these vulnerable ones. They too were created on purpose for a purpose but how would they ever realize that purpose unless they had a safe home, dependable resources and people in their lives to believe in them until they believed in themselves. People. Without people there would be no “Courage.” When we began fourteen years ago, our entire staff consisted of volunteers. We all had paying jobs. We worked from our homes, met on the weekends and evenings. We used our own computers, cars and money to kickstart the dream of building homes for victims rescued from sex trafficking here in the US and around the world. Today, long after homes and programs have been established we still depend upon people like you – volunteers – to help us achieve the mission and vision of the organization. There are no programs without people. Some of us can give our time and others can give financially. Both are equally important. Read below as one of our volunteers describes her experience in Tanzania. Having volunteers allows your giving to go further by reducing administrative costs and overhead. Thank you Sami for the gift of your time and talents in rescuing and restoring “our” girls! Blessings.
– Jenny Williamson
I came to Tanzania with no intention of staying longer than two weeks. Here I am, almost 9 months later, with a work permit in my passport, mediocre knowledge of Kiswahili, and I officially can’t go anywhere in town without seeing someone I know. I feel more than lucky.
In many places in the States, dirt is replaced with concrete, trees are replaced with buildings, and the sky is masked with pollution. Here, the natural beauty is unmatched: Kilimanjaro in her majesty, the expanse of the bush, flora and fauna of the national parks, the larger-than-life roaming animals, the clear night sky and all of her stars, the warm water and golden sun of the coast. There is nothing like a sunset here, and a cup of coffee originating on the slopes of the mountain. I find Tanzanians to be so warm and welcoming, and simply not in a hurry — meaning everyone takes the time to genuinely greet others, but also meaning nothing starts on time.
No matter how beautiful this country is, I wouldn’t be able to last long-term if I didn’t absolutely love what I’m doing at Courage. The challenges are intense, physically and emotionally. This job keeps me on my toes and is never boring. I said I didn’t want an “office job” after college, and I certainly got what I wished for. Many of my friends are motivated only by their monthly salary and hope to find a job that better aligns with their passions later in their career. This is what I was fully prepared to do after graduating, but now find myself really in the opposite situation: deeply involved and passionate about my work, but with only enough to get by financially. It’s an obvious tradeoff for me.
But the work is heavy. It weighs on my mind and heart, bleeding into even my time off. It breaks my heart that organizations like Courage have to exist, because the reality of young, vulnerable girls sexually exploited and trafficked – victims of a heartless and vile crime.
Balancing out this darkness is the light and joy the girls at Courage truly are. They are resilient and motivated. They are dreamers and world-changers. Now that I’ve been here for almost a year, I have been able to witness some incredible transformations; even from day 1 to week 1, the girls start to heal and blossom.
Two girls I have become particularly close with because of the Courage Leadership Academy program – where the girls learn sewing, computer skills, and advance their English – just recently began university. It was such a privilege to accompany them on their move-in days: seeing them in their new environments, nervous and excited like any new college student is, but with the deep knowing that their life is on a fresh trajectory because of Courage. One of the girls is studying law and wants to fight for the rights of young girls and women in Tanzania, and the other is studying social work and community development.
One girl can change her life, which then can change a community, a country, and the world. That’s why I don’t take my job lightly.