This morning as I scrolled through twitter I came across this picture from A21:
These are the decorations put up by the girls rescued from trafficking and living in the Bulgarian shelter. I thought to myself, “Those are our girls!” Perhaps you are wondering what I mean by “our girls”. I have never met them personally and I do not know their names, but they are very special to me. Here is why. These girls (five of them at this time) endured such abuse from their traffickers that their teeth were destroyed. When I connected with A21 to see what project they might like us to help with (us being those participating in Boston for A21/Santa Anita 5k for A21) they asked if we would raise the funds for the dental work to have not only the girls lives and dignity restored but also their smiles. Of course my response was “YES”!
What I love about the picture above is the hope that it expresses. These are just young girls who have gone through hell. But now that they have been rescued and are living in a safe house their lives are being restored. They can dream again! I wonder what dreams those hearts in the window represent. After enduring such abuse it is a wonder to me that they can celebrate Valentines Day. But isn’t that how God works? As I quoted a couple of days go in my post, “Let the ruins come to life…rising up from the ashes…” HOPE!
This project will cost about $10,000 plus the cost of sending an oral surgeon over to do the work. Will you join me in this adventure? Every little bit helps. Or perhaps you would like to join our team and do an event (like the Santa Anita 5k) for A21, raising awareness to fight human trafficking and funds to restore the smiles of these beautiful girls. To set up your own fund-raising page follow the direction on this post: http://www.trailrunningpastor.com/2013/11/08/boston-for-a21-step-2-supporting-a21/
If you would like to support me or one of the members of our team by making a donation please follow this link: http://www.crowdrise.com/BostonforA21/fundraiser/dawnjackson
In case you are not familiar with A21 here are a few stats and details about what they do. A21 exists to abolish injustice in the 21 century. They have only been in existence for about seven years, yet in that amount of time have been extremely effective. They focus on prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships. Since their inception they have successfully prosecuted 24 traffickers resulting in 353 years in prison and over $2,000,000 in fines. Recently on twitter they highlighted what their shelters help to do:
- Rebuild identity.
- Re-establish skill sets, self-esteem and personal interest.
- Work towards social and familial reintegration.
- Provide culturally sensitive mental recovery.
- Go beyond meeting basic needs.
- Empower survivors to make their own decisions again.
- Treat any illnesses or ailments obtained during enslavement.
Which bring us back to the girls living in the shelter in Bulgaria. I hope you will join us in restoring their smiles.
If you would like to read more about A21 please follow this link: http://www.thea21campaign.org/index.php#.Uvo1GPDTmtU