Our family recently moved to another city, and I was sitting with a friend catching up on life when she asked me this question, “how do the girls actually come into the BFA transition house in Morocco?” It made me realize that maybe some of our fellow supporters don’t know exactly how that happens too. So, I wanted to share. First let me start by saying that there are no cookie cutter ways that girls come into our home. There are, however, several common ways.
Many of our girls have been abandoned by their parents. Maybe because of death or drugs and yes prostitution. If a girl’s parents are put in jail or have passed away before the age of 18, they are most often accepted into government care- much like a foster care home for many girls. Unfortunately, when these girls turn 18, they are kicked out of the government center and most, if not all, have nowhere to go. This is where the phrase “girls at risk” comes into play. Because these precious girls have nowhere to go, they often end up on the streets or picked up by traffickers.
Thankfully BFA has established a relationship with the local government care center and the director will call us to let us know that a girl is about to age out. When she does, we meet with her and give her the option of entering our home. We always stress that this is the girl’s choice because most of their choices have been taken away from them throughout their lives and we want them to see that they have the power to change their future, simply by saying yes to good and healthy choices. Upon entering the transition home (called healing house in English) we share the rules and expectations with her and sign an agreement with us.
Most girls come into our home between the ages of 17 to 22 and stay approximately six months to two years before they begin our step-down program.
Once in the home the girls are welcomed into a family-like setting with house moms who love, care and encourage our girls. Each girl gets her own bed with new bedding, new clothes, shoes and all the education assets she needs. If medical care is needed our medical advocate kara accompanies each girl to medical, dental and mental health appointments. Each girl begins trauma counseling and therapies that we are constantly learning more about and adding to- in fact we are currently creating an art therapy corner in our house so the girls can express emotions and hurts in a different way. Another important stepping stone for our girls is choosing their education path. Many girls haven’t passed their 9th grade equivalent test and begin working with our house director and education staff to assess where each girl is. The next thing that happens is as the girls begin to heal, they share stories about their dreams and desires, and we help establish a unique education plan and goals to help them meet those dreams.
The journey to Healing house is often long and full of affliction but once she (whomever she may be) walks through those doors her life can begin to change for the better.
In the coming months follow along as we trace the journey of these incredible young women