Update with Iana Matei, director of Reaching Out Romania: assisting victims of human trafficking
After reading the book of John and putting some of the significant passages into their own words, four more girls chose to be water baptized last month. “The atmosphere is so much better in the home,” comments Iana. “It is now much easier to communicate with the girls because I can orientate them toward God. I can point them to Christ and the good work that He is doing in their lives. They are not alone. I can tell them that they are a new creation, that they belong to Jesus and He is the one taking care of them.”
Please pray for the two new girls who arrived in the shelter this week. Ages 14 and 15, both are vulnerable. *Ana was abused by her stepfather at age seven, dropped into child services by her mother, then recruited by her roommate in the group house and exploited. Pray that they will begin to feel comfortable in the shelter and that the dynamic in the home will remain positive.
Busy, but a good busy!
Over the last 2 months, Iana has completed a series of training workshops with child services specialists. These have taken place in five counties around Pitesti and Bucharest. “Conducting the training brought me joy and sorrow at the same time,” says Iana. “Joy because I see a handful of dedicated people working to solve the children's many problems. Sorrow because they don't have the necessary tools, the procedures are unclear, and they don't have the information they so much need.” As a result, Iana will put together a guide for direct assistance for child victims of human trafficking to be distributed to all child service agencies in Romania.
The Shalom Prize: Award for Justice and Peace
“God is faithful,” says Iana, “He is always faithful!”
Each year the Working Group of Arbeitskreis (AK) Shalom make a contribution to the protection of human rights and worldwide peace. This year they chose to award Reaching Out Romania the Shalom Prize, one of the most highly endowed human rights prizes in Germany.
Announcing the 2023 recipient, AK Shalom stated: “The 64-year-old psychologist has been committed to justice since the late 1980s and has been fighting human trafficking since the late 1990s. Since 1999, ROR has helped more than 750 victims, built two assistance centers and a farm to provide them with a framework of normal living conditions and the possibility of reintegration into society.”
To continue reading: Shalom Prize for Romanian aid project against sexual exploitation
Take a moment to view the lavender farm (by drone) and listen as Stefan Matei speaks of his work and vision.
The lavender farm is a game-changing project for the fight against human trafficking in Romania.
It is hard work to make this happen. To productively manage any agricultural land requires expertise and funding. Stefan, along with his wife, Alina, and five-year old son, David, live and work at the farm and give oversight to the operations. 100% of the profits are directed to the center for child victims of human trafficking. In five years, the aim is to fund 80% of the shelter’s activities with the farm proceeds. But five years is a long time when one thinks of the immediate needs of the children. Their future depends on our actions today. The children need our love and support right now.