Alliance News Feed – A Safe Place for Girls with Nowhere to Turn
by Esther Schaeffer, who serves with The Alliance in Burkina Faso, West Africa
When we began our work at the local prison in Bobo-Dioulasso, we didn’t realize it would make us aware of other great needs here.
But then we met several teen girls who had been taken advantage of and had nowhere to turn.
One of the young girls, Rose*, told us her family had put her on a bus with a one-way ticket to our city. She was to look for work as a domestic helper.
So Rose began knocking on doors. A woman finally took her in. But the older woman mistreated Rose, locking her out of her house when she went to work.
Some older boys in the neighborhood offered Rose a small amount of money for sexual favors. They told her they would get her fired if she didn’t cooperate with them.
When Rose became pregnant, her employer told her she would have to leave the home when the baby was born.
This simple young girl knew that the baby couldn’t stay with her, so when she began experiencing labor pains, she went to an abandoned yard to give birth. In desperation, she left her newborn and returned to her employer’s home.
Shocked to see Rose wasn’t pregnant anymore, the woman dragged the teenager to the yard where she’d left the baby. She then called the police. Thankfully the baby survived. But Rose was put in prison.
How Do We Respond?
As we looked for ways to place girls like Rose in healthier, safer living situations, we wondered how many more were suffering alone in our city. What practical steps could we take to help them?
Educating Women in Our Community
We decided the best place to begin helping these girls was through first educating women in the church.
So far, we have held two seminars for young women and will hold two more this month, including one at which 500 are registered to attend. In these sessions we explain how much God values them and has a plan for their lives, His plan for sexuality, and how to avoid dangerous situations.
We are also starting a prayer group at our Christian high school. We want young girls caught in these desperate situations to have Christian women with whom they can talk and express their needs.
Our women can speak with the families where these girls live; they also have contacts with available social services.
Through our radio broadcasts, we have begun to address female employers in our area who have domestic laborers living in their homes.
The radio messages focus on the importance of taking responsibility for the well-being of these girls. We also share how our Heavenly Father cares deeply for them and sees how they are treated.
In Jonah 4:11, God reveals His heart for lost people to the prophet.
And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left . . . ?
Just as God shows His compassion for those who haven’t been taught about life or His ways, so must we. In our city, it’s often these young girls who need a tangible expression of His grace.
“How to Raise a Pack of ‘Mama Bears’” tells how an Alliance team’s care for West Africa’s marginalized girls helped a local Christian community to see these teenagers through Jesus’ eyes.
Source: Alliance News Feed – A Safe Place for Girls with Nowhere to Turn