INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION
IJM is an organization that is dedicated to eliminating modern-day slavery and trafficking. Over 40 million people are currently trapped in slavery. Human beings who are forced to lead a life being oppressed, abused, exploited, and often times sexually assaulted.
IJM has 17 locations strategically placed across the world, and has worked to provide freedom for over 40,000 people across the world. The way that their model works is to rescue first, help restore those peoples lives, work with local authorities to bring justice to slave owners, and last giving representation to those survivors of human slavery/trafficking.
The SPOTLIGHT for our current campaign is a non-profit that is based in Benin, Africa called Projects for Progress.
pROJECTS FOR PROGRESS
Projects for Progress aka PFP was started in 2008 by Jace and Sarah Rabe. They are planted in Benin, Africa to help create sustainable living for residents in the country.
They are fully aware that throwing money at a country in tremendous poverty, will not produce any lasting change. So instead their focus is on 3 different aspects to make these changes: clean water, small business development, and education. They are committed to relationships with the people of the country, and live over there the majority of each year. They have built wells for clean water, and a cashew factory that has provided hundreds of jobs to the local residents. They continue to look for ways to provide economic support to the country to help cause a lasting change in Benin.
Q & A With Sarah Rabe
When did you guys start PFP and what prompted you to start it?
We started PfP 8 years ago on our honeymoon here in Benin, very romantic I know. We came here to look at some economic development opportunities and realized that was only a piece to a larger puzzle. We could not be effective with economic development if we did not address the need for sustainable community development and lasting spiritual development. During our initial visit we were moved by the overwhelming kindness of this culture and their extreme poverty in which they were living in and God began to soften our hearts for the people of Benin. Our love and understanding of Christ compelled us to take action and to show them that love in very real and practical ways. We were here walking through the communities saying that there is so much work to be done with in them, how can we begin to meet these physical needs. We knew we wanted to base whatever we did in relationships and partnerships, not hand outs and not as the Westerners with all the answers and ideas, so we decided to meet with the village leaders and listen to what they had to say, what they viewed as their major issues as a community. They laid out their top issues, the first one being clean water, we committed to help in building a well. With in a year we were back participating in the well dedication. This solidified our relationship with that village and it has grown from there.
How has PFP had an impact on the community in Benin?
Through our small enterprise development projects we have began and expanded over 300 businesses provided clean water through 8 wells in 4 different villages have an orphan sponsorship project for the last 6 years (which includes monthly food distribution, school expenses, medical expenses, etc), we have approx. 200 middle and high school students in an after school type program that provides school supplies, teaches study skills and life skills, and focuses on importance of education especially girls education, all of which increases the passing percentage of the students.
In our Life Skills Class, we have had approx. 300 local village women graduate from the project and in the process of teaching our 4 th class of women. They are taught basic life skills which are creating healthier families, more kids going and staying in school, more financially stable families, empowered women, and breaking the cycle of poverty due to ignorance. 30 women in an agriculture project, learning better farming practices at the same time providing additional income by selling what they are growing on our land 45 women in a soap fabrication business project, allowing them to provide more income to their families.
So through all of these projects we are empowering people to raise themselves out ofthe situations they are in to have a better life for the present and the future, breaking mentalities and cycles that do not allow for growth and development.
How has PFP affected you and Jace personally?
We feel like this is one thing God has created us for and our family for, a field for us to work in. Because of that we have chosen to live here in Benin at least 8 months a year with our two daughters that are 6 and 4 years old, so that within itself affects how we do life, what we sacrifice, how we raise our kids, etc, but at the same time, even though it may seem crazy to have our life here with our two small kiddos, it is where we want to be, in the will of God on this wild adventure with Him, with a peace that He will keep His promise and a people will forever be changed through His love and light through a willing family of four.
What is the best way to help PFP?
Helping financially is one of the most effective ways to help, we have a donor that contributes for all our overhead costs, so all other donations go directly to projects. The more finances we have coming in the more we can increase our projects and increase the number of lives we are reaching and impacting. The easiest way to do that is to donate online at our website www.projectsforprogress.com Other ways would be if we had a specific need for items to be collected, people could collect and donate those items.
What is your vision for the future of PFP?
For the physical aspect, to continue and expand our existing projects in our current 3 villages, in addition to eventually expand our core projects to other villages throughout Benin and beyond. For the spiritual aspect, to continue to show the love of Christ in practical hands on ways at the same time sharing His love and freedom through discussions and stories with the goal of developing disciples of Christ.