Peace and Hope’s Valeria Lopez founded Casa Rahab (Rahab’s House), a Christian centre where girls who have been, or are at risk of being, involved in the sex trade can get the help they need.

Valeria and her team seek to break the cycle of sexual exploitation by rebuilding trust, self-esteem and a stable emotional balance in the lives of girls under the age of 18. They provide all of the girls, who are referred to them by the police or local authorities, with a programme of therapy, education and vocational skills in a safe, Christian environment.

When the girls first arrive at Casa Rahab they are interviewed by the team’s psychologist, who designs an individual programme of therapy to help them recover from the trauma they have been through. A social worker helps them with any problems they are having with their schools and families, even offering parenting classes and therapy to their families.

The girls are taught life skills, such as how to take care of a home and how to cook healthy meals, as well as receiving help with their homework or being taught how to read and write. In order to help the girls find an alternative source of income to support themselves they are given vocational education.

The centre takes around 10 girls – some as young as 9. They all come from poor, uneducated families, and often they are at risk in their own homes. They appear strikingly young, as a generalisation, and generally come with a range of medical, mental and social problems.  We know that we’re addressing a small part of a massive global issue, but we do feel we’re making some headway.

We cannot readily publish pictures of the girls, for safeguarding reasons. We do monitor their progress and receive periodic reports and pictures from Casa Rahab…we just can’t publish them.

We cannot readily publish pictures of the girls, for safeguarding reasons. We do monitor their progress and receive periodic reports and pictures from Casa Rahab…we just can’t publish them.

Thank You,  Stephen Ind CEO.

The deadline of 31 December was upon us – our accreditation for importing goods was about to expire and it was just after Christmas before our container was finally cleared. It was then up to Valeria, our resourceful manager in Managua to set about distributing the hospital beds (etc). Unusual haste was required this time as the customs warehouse now gives us just one day – instead of the previous 20 days – to remove our goods.

Valeria had identified 2 public hospitals in Rio Blanco and Siuna, both a long way out from Managua, which can make very good use of our hospital beds and their easy-clean mattresses. She also has contacts in a home for disabled children, outside Managua, and a heap of mobility equipment was earmarked for those children. At the last moment, she got news of a fire last week at a Catholic ‘Seniors’ residence in Chinandega, and so a quantity of suitable goods were sent to the home.  It had lost much of its roof and most of its contents and is without electricity at present so needs all the help it can get.

Valeria has visited Chinandega – some photos are attached here – and she plans to visit Rio Blanco and Siuna too, if she can do so safely.

This container was significant in several ways. It was the first we’ve sent since the country’s violent disturbances in April; it was therefore also handled entirely by Nicaraguan helpers and volunteers, with some funding from the Peace and Hope Trust for in-country trucking costs; it was also a test for any changes in the administrative burdens imposed on NGOs such as ours, given the government’s recent suspicion that NGOs are funding the unrest in the country. We have learned from this (mostly successful) test consignment and are now more likely to send further containers in 2019, but we are keeping matters under constant review.