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Julia Dedmon's Fundraiser:

Safe House

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BENEFITING:

Julia Dedmon

THE STORY:

Avenue of the Giants Marathon on May 4th to help build a safe house for Iris Global and the girls they serve in the city of Pemba in northern Mozambique. The heart of this outreach is to rescue girls out of prostitution and help them discover their true identity. In practice, we offer to wash the girls feet and to paint their nails as an excuse to have time with them and to get to know them. Around 50 girls come each week, but we estimate that at least 100 are part of our growing family. Many choose to stay for the rest of the evening after their nails are painted, enjoying the atmosphere and the security, sometimes falling asleep.
They have recently outgrown the small bamboo hut that they have been meeting in. Girls often have to queue outside or stand while they wait to spend time with the volunteer staff. In addition, the shack is often flooded in rainy season and we are often joined by families of frogs, rats and cockroaches.
“Our dream is to have somewhere larger but also a space that would bless the girls in its loveliness. A block built house, with a courtyard, a kitchen so that they can share meals together, a shower and a place where they can wash clothes and store donations so that they can bless them with clothes, etc. This would be a place where the girls feel at home and know they are valued.

” (-Safe House team leader)
The outreach is a team of four women and a Mozambican boy, Lucas, (from the village youth program) who leads the “security” team. The program has been running for two years. Each week they get the opportunity to help them learn what it looks like to live out a life of dignity and choice. 

The girls who come range from toddlers to girls in their twenties, girls who are left to wander the streets after dark without parental oversight and girls who are selling themselves on the streets.

 Many of the girls are taught that to have food and shelter they need to have sexual relationships; that they are most secure when they have relations with more than one man. They have been told that it is rare for a man to continue to pursue the relationship for longer than it takes to produce two children, so the girls are taught to have a back-up strategy of additional men in their life. It is heart breaking to hear the low expectations they have from a relationship, and worse, that abuse and infidelity is expected.
For nearly a year and a half a small group of the girls have been meeting with them each week for mentorship and family time. Several of these are now in the organizations’ vocational program.
The staff are seeking to provide the opportunity for more girls to return to school or to get vocational training, so that that they have choices and can walk with dignity. The plan is to make use of the opportunities already available within Iris which fit the girls’ interests and ambitions.

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Julia is working on selecting a charity so you can support Safe House.