They held us locked inside, frightened…
This weeks blog post comes to us from our ministry partner, Beginning of Life, who work in Moldova to help rescue and restore victims of human trafficking. House of Change is the rehabilitation center that Beginning of Life operates, which supports and shares the holistic power of the Gospel to help young women and girls begin a new life. Beginning of Life also runs educational programs to raise awareness and educate. This post was taken from their most recent newsletter. You can hear from Beginning of Life director, Vladimir Ubeivolc as he shared at our Hope in Action: Restored event in 2015.
“My name is Dana. I was one of 6 children in our family. Our childhood was spent in a ruined house, heavy work in the fields, and unhappy relationships. My mother was addicted to alcohol, while our father was always working away in the construction industry. Things became even worse when our mother began a relationship with a man from another village, so she was rarely present at home. So we needed to run the household on our own. Mother wanted to leave the family and take only the younger brothers with her, but father was against this. So each time she came it ended with violence, with us usually in the middle of these fights. One Christmas Eve, we were invited by a cousin to a party in the town next to our village. Parents were not home, so I agreed. There were many young people, a lot of food and alcohol. But instead of fun, we needed to serve others there. That night, a group of young men forced us to stay when others left. They held us locked inside, frightened, and they were abusing us. In the morning we found ourselves out on the street…”
The girls had to walk all the way back to their home village. This traumatic experience inevitably had its consequences, as Dana and her friend were emotionally and morally destroyed. At the time, Dana was just 14. She was afraid to tell anyone, not even her mother, father or the police, as they had already become known as a problem family. Soon after, Dana and the other girl stopped attending school. Some of the boys involved attended the same school and Dana was ashamed and afraid to meet them again. Their absence and behaviour was noticed by some of the teachers and they tried to talk with the girls. Dana shared everything about that night with her teacher. Knowing about Beginning of Life, the school administrator contacted our team. Soon after, Dana came to House of Change. “When Dana came to us, she was very scared and isolated,” recalls Olga (House of Change social assistant). “A medical investigation revealed that she was pregnant. It was shocking news for the girl. She didn’t know how to react or what to do. She decided to go home for a few days to discuss with her mother. We assured her that we would be with her throughout this critical period, so that she could feel safe and free to stay in the center.”
After a few days Dana returned to House of Change. She had decided to keep the baby and to go through the rehabilitation program. Later, when the time came we helped Dana to move into a specialized maternity center. We continued supporting her. And she gave birth to a healthy, wonderful baby boy, whom she loves and cares for well. Being very concerned about a place of safety for Dana and her child, with support from our partners we repaired the room in her family house and built a heating system which was lacking there. “During the last year, we have witnessed many positive changes in Dana’s life – things which seemed very difficult to imagine,” says Natalia Clapaniuc, the rehabilitation center director. “Dana had never experienced proper hygiene, but slowly learned to clean her room, wash her clothes and prepare food, along with many other life skills. She has serious health problems which we are still trying to help her with. Another issue we worked hard with Dana to overcome in these past months was her difficulties in communications with other girls inside and outside the center. She was very scared and unsociable. But slowly, step by step, she became more open and friendly. Now, she is happy to participate in all events and programs organized within the center. She has deeper confidence in herself now. Dana learned how to make decisions on her own and be responsible for herself.” Today, Dana is a good emotional supporter of her family. Further to these changes, she started to attend Sunday services at the church, showing interest and patience in learning about God and His love. Another important step Dana has taken is towards her intellectual development. Because of her pregnancy she could not continue studies, but now she spends considerable time in self development, reading books and learning how to be a good mother, offering love and proper education to her child.