Life has not been easy for Anna due to the merciless acts of others and not knowing who to trust. Three days after she was born, Anna’s parents placed her in an orphanage where she lived for nine years. After all that time her parents decided to take her back. But they didn’t care about their daughter. They were abusive and forced Anna to perform hard physical labor. She tried to escape the abuse, but was returned by the police to her family. As a result, Anna’s life got even more difficult. Her father tried to sexually assault her; she was beaten by her mother; she tried to kill herself and was placed in a psychiatric hospital. In short, she felt trapped and unloved, and held little hope for a better tomorrow.
At the age of 16, Anna’s family sold her into bondage, resulting in another seven years of abuse. She left that situation to fend for herself on the streets of Romania. It was during this time that she was raped and became pregnant. She was then forcibly taken to Greece by human traffickers and pushed into prostitution. She escaped the dire situation, gave birth to her daughter, and soon put her up for adoption. Anna’s story is not unlike the other 11.4 million women around the world being victimized through human trafficking.
Anna returned to Romania and was once again forced to join the ranks of the homeless – her only option at the time. She had no education and no employable skills by which to secure a job. Along the way, she met a man who said he could get her work in Greece. She made the trek back with him only to experience more sexual abuse. Anna was trapped in a horrible cycle of abandonment and abuse – devoid of any sense of hope. That is until she found her way to AMG International supported Community House Damaris in Athens, Greece.
Community House Damaris is a healing community that provides safe housing and long-term therapeutic recovery programs designed to guide sexually exploited and trafficked women, from 18 to 29 years of age, to a restored life in Christ. The ministry is named after the Athenian woman who converted to Christianity after hearing the apostle Paul preach the Good News in Acts 17:24.
This ministry was birthed by Dina – a Greek woman who ministered to victims of exploitation and trafficking in some of the 300 brothels located in downtown Athens. During her 10 years of ministry, she found that the girls she was serving faced significant barriers to escape their situations. Most were far from family, did not have Greek language proficiency, lacked financial resources, and had limited skills that would help them find work outside the brothels. After years of prayer, and with help from AMG, she started Community House Damaris.
With the support of our financial partners, and by God’s loving grace, we have rescued and transformed the lives of 17 young women and nine babies during the ministry’s first two years of operation. The women have come to us from Greece, Romania, the Dominican Republic, Iraq and throughout Africa – most of them journey to Greece as refugees. We are amazed at how God has blessed, sustained and grown this ministry over a short period of time. As you can imagine, restoring one’s life after extensive abuse can take time. The staff at Community House Damaris cares deeply for the women and babies they minister to and serve. Throughout the recovery process we introduce participants to the radical love of Christ by leading weekly Bible studies aimed at pointing women to the true source of restoration.
When an abused woman, like Anna, comes to Community House Damaris, she not only finds a safe place to rest and raise her baby; she also benefits from our daily education and recovery programs. Our day program, for instance, teaches women much-needed skills that aid in their healing, such as anger management, self-esteem, parenting, budgeting, career training, healthcare, healthy relationships, Greek language, and a multi-phase recovery program. Anna has been at Community House Damaris for seven months now and says, “I am finally making great progress in my healing process.” AMG International donors play a big role in restoring the lives of abused women.
After much prayer and research, we sense the Lord calling us to expand this ministry through the acquisition and staffing of an additional facility at a cost of $91,000.
One young woman we served through the ministry recounts her experience with Community House Damaris. “By the grace of God, and through the faithful encouragement of the ministry staff, my eyes were open and I began to see His plan for me; giving me hope for the future. I began to experience freedom and learned to forgive my family. Through Community House Damaris, I experienced true love in action.” Our goal is to see precious souls like these fully restored from desperation to hope as they begin viewing themselves in the Imago Dei– in the image of God.
Our current facility can house 10 women at a time. We are at full capacity with many more women in need of our services at Community House Damaris. Will you prayerfully consider helping AMG International grow this effective ministry? We deeply desire to help more forgotten women who would benefit from our ministry efforts, but we are out of space. Would you help us make that a reality? Together, we can grow this ministry, empower survivors, restore lives, inspire hope, and release the grip of despair, abuse and trafficking. Please join us in this effort.