When J looks in the mirror, she sees a broken young girl who has been a victim of sexual exploitation from age 10. She sees a girl who was lured to the comforts of drug abuse by her pain and who was held captive for two years by someone she was taught to trust. But with the help of Casa Adalia, J also sees the reflection of a strong woman who has a bright and promising future ahead of her.
Casa Adalia, Hebrew for ‘God is my refuge’ is a ministry part of End Slavery Ministries Ecuador and Youth World seeking to end oppression for women who have been victims to various cases of human trafficking.
Debbie Douce, long-term missionary and founder of Casa Adalia, heard about J’s story and others similar to hers and decided to start a home for women where they could learn life skills while they recovered from their trauma.
“A door opened for us to volunteer and gain informal training at a safe house for underage girls rescued from the sex industry,” Douce said on her blog. “We were then invited to begin a ministry under the umbrella of International Teams Netherlands for women rescued from the sex trade.”
God has opened the door for them to share love with girls in Ecuador who desperately need the hope, healing and freedom found in Jesus.
Casa Adalia welcomes women and their families into the home with open arms. While they are there, the women are able to practice life skills that will help them in the future.
Noemi Sisalema, senior economics major, was able to work at Casa Adalia over the summer and help teach and minister to the women.
“It was an honor for me to help them with their academics—most of them weren’t past a middle school level but they were all extremely smart,” Sisalema said. “One of my girls is an amazing artist; she paints beautifully and plays the piano.”
The artistic creativity of these women can be seen in the jewelry that they make and sell at the house.
There is a room devoted to a jewelry studio where the women make bracelets and necklaces out of organic dried and dyed acai berries and tagua fruit from Ecuador. The proceeds from the jewelry go directly to keeping Casa Adalia open and to support the women who make the jewelry.
The acai bracelets are $5, the tagua are $6 and the necklaces are $15. Sisalema brought some back with her from Ecuador and has already sold all of them.
Sisalema said that she will be getting more close to the end of the semester In the meantime, Enactus is helping set up a purchase page on the Casa Adalia website soon so orders can be shipped to America.
“It is really great to see the young women realize their potential for success,” Sisalema said. “One of the girls is 23 years old and has four kids, one of which is 11—you do the math. Before she came to Casa Adalia it was hard for her to have hope in a future, but now she is starting a baking business all on her own.”