In West Africa, hard manual labor is a part of daily life. Few homes have running water or electricity. Food is cooked over a fire and clothes are washed by hand. Most people hire a domestic worker, often a young girl from a remote village. These girls come from families who live in extreme poverty and send a child to work in the city to help support the family.
Unfortunately, some of the girls are taken advantage of by their employers and mistreated. The girls are naive and, without the supervision of their families, are at risk for STIs, HIV, and pregnancy.
Hands of Honor reaches out to these vulnerable domestic workers by providing life-skills classes that help them make wiser choices. They also have the opportunity to pray and study God’s word together. Staff advocate for the girls, speaking up for them in situations where they are being mistreated.
One of the girls from the program, Fatimah*, shared her story:
I would lay awake and night and wonder what was the truth, the majority religion of my country or Christianity?
I didn’t grow up with my parents. I was sent away as a young child to live with devout relatives who sent me to religious school instead of regular classes. When I was 15 I went to the capital to work as a domestic worker so I’d have some money to buy my household things when I got married.
In the absence of my family to keep an eye on me, I made poor choices. I got involved with a guy who said he wanted to marry me, but when I got pregnant he wouldn’t even acknowledge that the child was his. I was so scared to tell my family.
When my son was 10 months old, I was told about a center for domestic girls like me that offered literacy classes and courses for other skills. I went to literacy classes each week and they taught us many wonderful things. They shared Bible stories and talked about Jesus and it made me start to doubt what I’d been taught in my religious classes. I did what the majority religion asked of me, but it didn’t give me peace.
I decided to try praying in Jesus’ name to see if He was real and heard my prayers. My brother was going to take a big school exam and it was very important to the family that he passed so he could get a good job. I prayed in Jesus name that he’d pass. I felt a peace in my heart when my prayer was answered. It was then that I decided to go to the Christian leaders in our center and tell them I wanted to know more about Jesus. I now meet with one of the leaders so she can help me understand what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.
Please pray that Fatimah would continue to grow in faith and boldness. Pray that her family would also want to learn about Jesus.
Hands of Honor also asks for prayer for Badiyah*, another new believer. Badiyah asked her employer for permission to attend church, but he threatened to fire her and notify her father if she didn’t convert back to the majority religion. Badiyah is fearful, but she is not backing down from the decision that she made.
*Names have been changed.