Hope Renewed

Shan's Story of Hope

Just as the heat of summer began to fill our lovely city, our headquarters office and Riverside branch gathered together for a time of rest and renewal around the cool waters of a mountain-side pool. We came together to celebrate 15 years of Starfish Project and to strategize and dream for 15 more.

While each branch shared stories from this year’s outreach, a common thread was found. That common thread was timing.

What do I mean by timing? As you might know, each week we visit brothels around our cities. As we build relationships with the women we meet, we plant seeds of value and hope. With each visit, we water these seeds longing to see every woman experience freedom and bloom into the amazing woman that is within her. Yet the timing is far beyond our control.

Any good farmer will know, some seeds take root in mere days while others take much longer. For many of the women we meet, the scars of trauma and pain must be uprooted to make room for even one small seed of hope. Practically speaking that amounts to months and sometimes years of visits, text messages and encouragement.

Recently we received a call from a woman who said she knew someone in our office. She shared that her contact was an American with dark hair who had a small baby boy. It could only be our Outreach Director, Shelby although her son was already 4 years old now. She shared that she had recently returned to our city and was hoping that the offer of a safe job at Starfish Project was still available.

When she came into the office, Shelby almost melted into tears. She remembered Shan*. Shelby had met Shan over 3 years ago on her first outreach with Starfish Project. Shan was in a dark brothel in a village on the verge of being torn down when they met. Shan lit up on that first visit as Jenny, and Shelby, baby carrier on her chest, greeted her. A mom herself, Shan doted on Shelby’s son and his chubby little legs. After a few months of visits, Shan was simply gone. The Outreach Team thought they’d never see her again. Yet today, three and half years later, she is here!

Shan shared her story- from compounded childhood trauma, being sold into a marriage as a teenager to being sent to work in brothels. She left our city years ago to escape an abusive relationship yet today, TODAY, she is back and ready to begin again. The seeds of hope have taken root and she is ready to bloom.

Here at Starfish Project you often join us in celebrating the power of hope. With our new Summer Collection, we invite you to celebrate hope renewed. What once was lost, has now been found. This summer join us in celebrating Shan and the ever-blooming seeds of hope among us.