By Abby Hopkins
Home. A place meant not only for shelter but for shared meals, deep conversations, big dreams, and lots of laughter. A place many are accustomed to, never knowing what it would be like to not have one, or to have one corrupted by abuse.
However, for many children, this is what they are accustomed to. The Poiema Foundation assists those who have faced this reality. It starts by educating the public and raising awareness on sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and other methods of sexual exploitation.
Poiema, the Greek word for handiwork, is used in Ephesians 2:10 to describe how God created us: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
The Poiema Foundation is a ministry in Dallas, now in its second year, that partners with Dallas Baptist Association. It helps women and children who have been in the sex industry to learn and know this truth about themselves – they have worth, value, and purpose, and are precious to their Creator.
Along with informing the public about injustice and speaking truth to survivors, the ministry also participates in monthly outreach events, meets with women who are on the streets, and hosts residential programs. Currently, the ministry has one safehouse that serves as a community where girls can stay.
“We refer to our house as a home, not a house or a program. It takes so long to build trust when the people who were supposed to take care of them abused them,” said Rebecca Jowers, founder and executive director.
Texas Baptist Hunger Offering funds go directly to feeding girls at the safehouse and also funds meals for girls still on the streets.
For the girls at the safehouse, the ministry uses the funds to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese, and meats. The food is empowering as it allows each girl to cook one night every week after they choose what to prepare and plan the meal.
The girls always have dinner together as a community and occasionally get to work alongside volunteers who bring recipes and teach the girls how to prepare healthy meals.
The other portion of Hunger Offering funds goes toward taking girls out to eat who are still on the streets. Rebecca said she always takes them to a restaurant where they can pick a healthy option because most abuse victims are never given the option to choose what or when to eat.
One of the girls served by Poiema Foundation is an 18-year-old who had been abused since the age of two. She had between states, gotten a legal name change, and spent time in more than 50 foster care houses. Because of the ministry’s love and consistency in her life, they were able to hear her call it “home.”
Home, a concept some children have never before experienced, is now becoming a reality for those who go to Poiema Foundation because of its love, care, and service.
The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering supports ministries like the Poiema Foundation to fight hunger and injustice across the world. To give to the Hunger Offering, click here.