WELCOME is a non-denominational, not-for profit organization, registered as a 501(c)3 in the state of Colorado, focused on making a difference Internationally, starting in Madagascar. We are working with women and children who are “aging out of orphanages” and/or caught up in sex trades. Our desire is to live Biblical principles. People often talk a good game. We believe that working alongside people can have a much larger impact and instill a sense of self worth to those who feel they have none.
Welcome provides opportunities for person-to-person training in agriculture, farming, domestic skills and also learning new trades. Our end goal is to create a self sustaining program and a network in Madagascar that will impact the people and reach out to others who share our passion.
In January 2014, I was devastated to learn that a long time friend of mine had been hiding a secret. She prostitutes herself to put food on the table for her family of 12. My heart was crushed because the entire family had been bearing the weight and knowledge of this shame for so long, hiding this secret for the last 10 years. Shortly thereafter, I then learned of a 7 year old girl no longer allowed to attend school because her parents forced her into the sex trade. What is more devastating, is that she had a scholarship to attend school, which is rare. This scholarship would have covered her clothing, books, and food. But because it didn’t benefit the family, she was pulled out. Now her future is bleak she will likely end up a child mother like her 14 year old sister, also forced into prostitution at a young age, and a mother to a one year old. Sadly, there are thousands more heartbreaking stories just like these – and worse.
It is with much prayer and wise counsel that we are starting this ministry. We freely admit that we will be learning as we go. We cannot make the same mistakes as others have historically done by blazing in with western ideas of how things SHOULD be. The Malagasy way of life is much different than western ways. We need to make sure that we can offer alternative ways to make to allow people to support themselves and their families, without having to turn to the streets. Recently, we helped five girls find gainful employment in an area that they love: embroidery. Once a small group of women, it is now a thriving small business that has outside orders from Europe and South Africa. They doubled in size and we were able to help them purchase a larger facility and new equipment. This has created more jobs in the region – and this is just the beginning.
We have also invited a small family to live with us. We are teaching them basic farming principals and how to keep their chickens in a sanitary environment (not living in their homes and walking through their chicken excrement), among other things. Down the line, we hope to provide cooking and husbandry classes in order to teach young girls skills to find honest, gainful employment. We have been blessed with 30 acres to get this started. God is doing amazing things!
Before WELCOME, I found myself challenged through conversations and music lyrics (Matthew West: Do Something, and other powerful videos on youTube). These songs seemed to be inviting people to either come and join in the debauchery, or to STAND UP AGAINST IT.
In May 15, 2014, WELCOME was created. WELCOME is about people wanting to make a difference and actually DOING SOMETHING! Our HOPE is that you, too, catch a part of this vision, and be propelled to make a difference.
In November 2014, Narindra and I were married. We have the same passion to offer a life change for those stuck without dreams of a future full of opportunities. Narindra says that “young girls out of school that can’t find jobs are pushed into this industry.” We are starting with women and children and trade training, we understand that this will take time to change their mindsets and equip them with a fresh look at self worth. We are excited to see all the steps ahead and how things fall into place so specifically.
We would be excited if you would join us some time, share your time and talents with those here and see the increase in the impact.
Hope to see you soon, Nicole and Narindra