Author: Susan Hendry
“For The Sparrows is a social enterprise under Next Step Ministries that directly empowers survivors of sexual exploitation through employment in our production line. Often the women in the program make great strides in healing and recovery but struggle to become financially self-sufficient due to various employment barriers and economic vulnerabilities. Our employment initiative is to enhance their recovery journey and to help (them) explore opportunities of skills building and on-the-job training to enter the workforce with self-efficiency and hard skills.”
What is the value of this experience to a survivor of exploitation?
- She learns new skills to be self-sufficient to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation. By having a stable lifestyle, survivors can better care for themselves and their families.
- She no longer feels trapped. She has more control of her own life and future.
“Having an employment opportunity through my program at Next Step has taught me new skills for entering into the workforce, and it has also helped me recognize and build on the strengths I already had. I’ve gained a sense of financial security in a safe atmosphere which gives me choice and opportunities to pursue an education as I enter into independent living.” – Survivor
- She knows she matters – despite her past or present circumstances, people care about her and believe in her enough to train her and offer her opportunities to succeed. She deserves support, understanding, and the time and space to heal in a safe and caring community.
“I wouldn’t be where I am at today if it wasn’t for the social enterprise and Follow Care at Next Step. In the past I didn’t have this, and I couldn’t keep sober, but now I am not only keeping sober but thriving in a safe, Christ-centered workplace. I wish every workplace were like this to truly help individuals heal.” – Survivor
- She rebuilds her self-esteem and begins to see herself as someone worthy and loved. She becomes more confident in herself and her abilities and feels more empowered to do what she can to help herself. It gives the space to dream for the future.
- She fosters her own talents and creativity and learns how she could use them in meaningful work. These skills help with her own healing and recovery and provide an opportunity to “give back.” These all translate to employable skills, which open up possibilities for future employment.
“Having an opportunity to learn new skills helped me get back into carrying out job obligations and provided me a way to give back to Next Step. When I was making candles, I was in school. This extra cash helped me to pay rent and buy groceries.” – Survivor
- She becomes empowered financially.
“Having a job to go to keeps me busy and gives me a reason to get out of bed, get out of the house, and get out of my comfort zone. It gives me a little extra cash to help with bills.” – Survivor
- She begins to create HOPE for a better life and future.