Community Outreach and Prevention
Beginning in 2015 as our newest initiative, the Community Outreach Program joined the Inter-agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in Region 7, Philippines. Since 2016, we have continued growing and providing trainings and workshops for students, teachers, law enforcement, other community leaders, and pastors.
We recently trained a group of community workers about how to provide effective presentations. Our goal is more than raising awareness. We want to empower and equip advocates to speak out and change the world. At a recent open mic night, a young woman powerfully shared a story through spoken word. She let us know after her standing ovation that not only was it her personal story, but it was the first time she had told it.
As our oldest program, our Long-Term Program has cared for over 40 survivors since 2008. Read here for a description of our Second Family Approach, which focuses on relationships and resilience.
Faith came to My Refuge House early in 2017 when she was fourteen years old. She had dropped out of school in fifth grade. After one year in the homeschooling program at MRH, she advanced through and completed 8th grade. In early 2019, Faith applied for and was accepted as one of our Peer Leaders on campus. Her focus as a Peer Leader is helping out with the Health and Wellness Program for My Refuge House. Faith regularly lets us know that she is amazed by the difference she is seeing as we work with her and her family. Her father has stopped using drugs and is holding down regular employment as a mechanic.
Our transition program supports survivors as they move from high school on to college and/or a long-term job.
Mandy is one of our transition participants. She originally came to MRH when she was 16 after being trafficked by one of her mother’s friends. Mandy graduated from our Long-Term Program and moved into our Transition Program in 2015. She then began studying to be a social worker at one of the local universities. In March 2019, Mandy and Amber (another transition participant) became our first alums to graduate with their bachelor’s degrees!
This reflects our lived value for Transition Aftercare participants to work together while actively taking steps toward adulthood and living a life of hope.
Family and Community Development
We work with each girl to identify and develop her supports beyond the walls of My Refuge House. From our mentoring program to our family outreach, it is important to help our girls connect with the life they will live when they leave our care.
When the pandemic hit a year ago, we were laying more formal groundwork for our ASSET Program for Families. The five pillars of ASSET (Assist, Strengthen, Support, Educate, and Train) map a framework of care that will ensure more consistent interventions and approaches with the families. It will also enable us to better evaluate the effectiveness of our work with families. We began piloting this program in 2021.
We also look forward to resuming our quarterly outreach days when all of the families can get together and play, focused on building healthy relationships.
Since Chloe moved into MRH in early 2017, she and her family have become closer. Chloe says she is creating healthier boundaries and learning to be more intentional in her relationships. Chloe feels supported by her mother and loves any opportunity she can get to talk with her mom or siblings. Seeing Chloe on her journey of healing has even inspired her older sister to stop using drugs. The MRH Family Development Worker helped her brother get a job as maintenance staff at a local export company. Seeing the growth in her family inspires Chloe to keep growing, too.