Freedom House is a transitional home for survivors of human trafficking living here in the SF Bay Area. Residents can stay at the home for 18 months and are provided long-term aftercare, including legal, medical, psychological, spiritual, job training, and ESL services. After a year of operation, Freedom House has housed 21 residents and helped 38 non-housed survivors. One of Freedom House’s first residents, Anna (not real name) has opened up to share her amazing story. When she first arrived at the house, she was extremely withdrawn and depressed, and her story of transformation and recovery during her stay at Freedom House is one of blessing, hope, and faith.
In my anguish I cried to the LORD,
and he answered by setting me free.
~ Psalm 118:5
Today I live in freedom. I want to share with you my journey of coming out of darkness and into the light. This is my story.
Before I came to Freedom House, I was in a very dark place. I was so terrified and uncertain about everything. I had nothing. No direction and no hope. Things were so hard, and I had nowhere to turn to.
I came to Freedom House a year ago. I was alone in this spacious, beautiful house. My first week was so sad. All I could do was watch movies to distract myself. Every night I cried in my room, wondering what would happen to me since I came into the house with nothing. I thought the feelings of fear and hopelessness would never go away.
During the first few weeks, I was introduced to the amazing staff and volunteers at Freedom House. They showed me so much love. One volunteer drove from very far away just to come see me every week. I shared so much with her. She knew all my dreams, and I felt like I could just express myself. The people at Freedom House cared about me and became my friends. They helped me to build my self-esteem and have hope for my future. Because of their love, I felt at home.
It hasn’t been an easy road. I’ve had a lot of anxieties, disappointments and troubles along the way, and hardships often make me feel tired and want to stop trying. But the people at Freedom House have helped me do things that make me believe I can overcome these obstacles. They have supported me in my every step. I have mentors who guide me with wisdom and patience, and teach me the tools I need to reach my goals.
Freedom House helped me find God, to trust and have faith in Him and myself. I know that God brought me to the house for a reason and sent all these loving people around me. He gave me strength and hope, and that makes me want to keep going. There’s no room for giving up at Freedom House. It’s a place for love, trust, hope, belief, and support.
Right now I have a full-time job and am on a waiting list for my own apartment. The time will come when I will leave Freedom House to live independently. I know that I can face the big world because I will bring my treasures with me, the lessons that I have learned while living here.
I hope my story will inspire others. As the people of Freedom House helped me, I learned how to care for others. I remember one night when two new residents were brought to the house. They were so sad and scared, and they couldn’t stop crying. I knew exactly how they felt, so I stayed with them and told them that everything was going to be okay, that things would get better for them just like they had for me.
Thank you, Freedom House, for bringing me back to life, from being helpless to someone who has grown up. You have helped me in so many ways and taught me to be a better person. Thank you for letting me know that far away from home, I now have a family who is with me in my ups and downs and willing to help and understand me. Thank you for inspiring me with your actions and good hearts.
I thank God for Freedom House. I thank all the staff and volunteers who are so very supportive not only to me but to all the residents. And I thank everybody who has helped to support Freedom House in many ways. Thank you for sharing in my story.
Freedom House relies heavily on the volunteer support, generosity, and prayers of the faith community. For more information on Freedom House and how to get involved with this cause, please visit http://www.freedom-house.us.com/.
You can also support Freedom House at a benefit concert in San Francisco at The Independent on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. More info: http://www.theindependentsf.com/event/85131/