By Pam Mueller
They greeted us at the door with handmade greeting cards.
“Welcome to Jubilee Four!” they said.
A small hand grabbed mine and led me to one of the bedrooms. My new friend showed me her bed and her “cubby” where she keeps her personal belongings–clothes, dolls, and stuffed animals. This facility for children who have contracted HIV was far from an institution. Bright and cheery, it was a home.
After playing games, the children went off to get ready for school. Our team leader discreetly showed us pictures of a few of the children before they came to this home. One was an emaciated skeleton, in the hospital, just days from death. Another picture showed a brother and sister who had been living on the streets—the five year-old taking care of the 2 year old.
Next to each “before” picture was an “after” picture. The same children, after being cared for in this home, had plump cheeks, big smiles and energetic eyes, and they wore school uniforms. The pictures told a story of transformation.
Not all of the children in this home were snatched from the jaws of immediate death. But most were living on the streets or in a brothel, where their chances of long-term survival were not very high. Where uncertainty was certain, and abuse was common. What a contrast this home is to how they used to live!
Safety. The security of having people who are able to take care of them. Nutritious food, provided consistently at meal time. Medical care for their compromised immune systems. Education, which opens the door to a future with opportunities. Introduction to the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died so that they might live.
This is a Jubilee Home.* I started pondering that word. Jubilee. What does it mean? Dictionary.com defines it as “any season or occasion of rejoicing or festivity”. This is a home of rejoicing—where the lost are found, the sick are healed, and the (almost) dead are raised to life.
I found another meaning for this word “Jubilee”. In the Old Testament, the Jewish people celebrated the Year of Jubilee every 50 years. Among other things, slaves were set free in this year.
The children in this Jubilee Home were not physically enslaved. But most of them, if they had not been rescued, would have ended up there. Little girls who live on the streets or in brothels end up being forced into prostitution, many of them at a very young age. Little boys on the street are also exploited, often addicted to glue or drugs.
Jubilee Homes provide a place for children to go before they become entrapped in slavery. Some of these children were sent here by their mothers, who are still trapped in Mumbai’s red light district. They send their children to protect them and to prevent them from being enslaved. Prevention is a great way to fight human trafficking.
*Jubilee Homes are part of the ministry of Bombay Teen Challenge, Sower of Seeds’ ministry partner in India. We are currently raising money for a new Jubilee Home to be built, so that we can care for more children. Go to this link to learn how you can be involved in Project Red Light Rescue.
March 25 is the International Day of Remembrance of the victims of slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on the United Nations calendar.
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