One of the first things you notice about Tina is her smile – it lights up the room – which makes it hard to imagine that only ten years ago she was an orphan about to be sold to another person.
“My parents died when I was four years old, and somebody tried to sell me for 15 dollars,” she shared with us.
Tina lives in a region rife with human trafficking, drug trafficking, and militant groups. In fact, she lives in one of the world’s key corridors for criminal activity. With no one to protect them, vulnerable children in this region are particularly at risk for being recruited by sex traffickers, drug traffickers, and militant groups. Tina was almost one of those children.
But she was lucky. That day she was recused by a worker from one of the children’s homes that we support before she could be sold, and she is safe now. But for children like Tina, the rescue is only the beginning of a path to restoration. Children without parents struggle and are at greater risk of becoming involved in criminal activity. Providing a safe and nurturing environment is critical to keeping them out of violent and criminal groups.
“Not having parents is very difficult for us. When we got to school other kids’ parents pick them up and they call them mother and father… I feel sad and sometimes I dream that my mother and father are here, but then I wake up and it’s only a dream,” Tina said.
Tina has found hope in spite of all of this. She is surrounded by leaders who believe in her, teach her about the Father heart of God and show her how to dream. She even shared with us through a big smile. “It’s ok that we don’t have parents. If we stay in the children’s home, they will always talk about God and tell us that God is one of our parents…”
And she has a vision for the future. “I dream that I will finish university, and I can be a tour guide.”
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