Dear Partners in Mission,
Many of you have asked about the work EAPE is doing in Zimbabwe. That piece of our ministry is very close to my heart, and I´m delighted to tell you a little more about it.
We´re involved with a program called Tanaka that reaches out to "street girls" in Zimbabwe´s capital city of Harare. These girls survive on the streets by selling their bodies for a pittance. Most of them have run away from dysfunctional and abusive homes, and have no other way to support themselves.
The dangers these young women face are overwhelming. To say they are at high risk of contracting HIV-AIDS is a huge understatement. They are tremendously vulnerable to exploitation and abuse while they are on the streets. Even efforts to return to their families can prove disastrous–as we found out when one girl was reunited with her family, only to be raped by her uncle.
But through Tanaka–which operates under the direction of our United Kingdom ministry affiliate, Oasis–we are reaching out to these girls with the love and compassion of Christ. We offer a residential program that provides a safe and stable environment where they can, with our help, change their lives. Girls spend a little more than a year in the program, during which they are given support in dealing with their past traumas as well as their severe problems of self esteem. In many cases, we´ve been able to get these young women back in school or find them continuing employment.
Tanaka works in collaboration with local churches in Zimbabwe. By establishing close relationships with different congregations, our workers are able to locate strong Christian families that can provide foster care for the girls in the program. Given the poverty in Zimbabwe, it is often necessary to provide supplemental income for these foster families. But it´s more than worth the cost.
Through your support of EAPE, you are an essential part of this work. And we need your help to keep it going. I hope you will come through for us with prayers for the girls as well as financial support for this important ministry.
The Tanaka program won´t change the whole world overnight. But it is changing the world for each of the girls we rescue from the streets of Harare. Thanks for caring.
ABOUT TONY + MARCH 2006