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The house of hope that’s rescuing girls in Chad

Warning: contains mentions of sexual and gender-based-violence that some readers may find upsetting. 

The Beth Elphia ('house of hope') centre in Chad | Image credit: Azoukalnet Moukenet/Tearfund

The Beth Elphia ('house of hope') centre in Chad | Image credit: Azoukalnet Moukenet/Tearfund

In Chad, female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) is rife, despite it being illegal. But thanks to our local church partner, girls are becoming aware of their rights and have a place to turn to. They have a house of hope.

Beth Elphia means ‘House of Hope’. It is run by our local church partner, SERBAD, and is home to more than 120 girls who have escaped FGM/C.

The church running it provides the girls with shelter and food, as well as paying for their education. But as more and more girls come in, it has become challenging to provide for all their needs. When visiting local villages to raise awareness about the harms of FGM/C, the church’s leaders also often have to ask for donations.

‘Some [girls] walked hundreds of kilometers on foot to take refuge in the centre,’ shares one of the church’s leaders. ‘The challenge is great but with the help of the Lord, we will meet it.’

Beth Elphia is run by our local church partner, SERBAD, and is home to more than 120 girls who have escaped FGM/C. | Image credit: Azoukalnet Moukenet/Tearfund

Beth Elphia is run by our local church partner, SERBAD, and is home to more than 120 girls who have escaped FGM/C. | Image credit: Azoukalnet Moukenet/Tearfund

A desperate escape

Amira* tried fleeing to Beth Elphia but her parents brought her back to be cut. ‘They in turn stripped me completely and threw me among other naked girls to wait for our turn,’ Amira tells us.

Amira found the courage to escape, slipping away as other girls were cut. She ran for more than six miles to the house of the pastor who runs Beth Elphia.

It was 2am when she arrived. ‘When he opened the door the pastor was shocked… He called his wife who gave me her clothes,’ she shares.

Uncertain futures

While some mothers flee to the centre with their daughters, feeling powerless to stop the cutting, other parents reject their children once they end up at Beth Elphia. ‘My daddy disowned me and doesn't want to see me at their house anymore,’ shares Amira.

Zahra* fled to Beth Elphia with her sister. She is terrified that her parents will force her to come back. ‘Our parents are alcoholics and if we were taken home, they will mistreat us and then make us go through FGM/C,’ she says.

Please pray for these girls, for the Beth Elphia centre, and for an end to FGM/C.

Pray with us

Zahra shared this prayer request with us: ‘pray a lot for us because we are always worried… Do not forget us in your prayers until total victory. Thank you and God bless you.’

 

*Names changed to protect identities

 

Thursday 25 November begins the 16 Days of Activism – a global campaign to raise awareness of different forms of male violence against women. We have created the following resource for you to use individually, in small groups or with your church. It has stories, Bible studies and prayers to help you pray for an end to violence against women. Thank you for joining us in prayer and action for an end to male violence against women in all its forms. 

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