JOPLIN, MO – ‘Rapha’ is a Hebrew word that means ‘healing.’ Rapha International was born out of a near tragedy.
No stranger to the country, Joe Garman was in Cambodia when he witnessed first-hand an attempt to traffic a young woman. She had been sold by her parents to agents who were planning to enslave the girl within their network of horror and wickedness.
Garman’s familiarity and favor with local authorities allowed him to contact them quickly and bring their resources to bear to prevent the incident from becoming another trafficking tragedy.
Rather than feeling the thrill of victory in this instance, he became overwhelmed with the agony of defeat when he discovered that what he had witnessed that day is happening to countless young women every day. The burden became greater when he learned that Cambodian authorities had the desire and the willingness to rescue and restore trafficking victims. They did not, however, have a program, a structure, or the funding necessary to do so.
Following his return to the U.S., Garman shared his burden with other Christ-followers. He and his daughter co-founded Rapha International in 2003 and established its first operational facility in Battambang, Cambodia.
Rapha has now effectively deployed prevention and recovery care programs in Cambodia, Thailand, and Haiti.
The recovery care programs offer shelter, food, clothing, healthcare, personal healing, and educational and vocational training on secure and safe campuses. The campuses are staffed by indigenous trained and caring experts in Trauma-Informed Care who come alongside trafficking survivors throughout their journey.
Trauma-Informed Care is essential to the success of any human trafficking rehabilitation and restoration endeavor. Without training in Trauma-Informed Care, counselors, advisors, and support staff may easily and inadvertently re-traumatize the girls entrusted into their care.
Rapha staff members guide the young women through a healing process that culminates in them arriving at a point where they are stable, secure, and self-sustaining.
Rapha currently has active campuses in Battambang and Siem Reap, Cambodia; Chang Mai, Thailand; and in Haiti. Of the more than 200 staff members at Rapha, more than 180 are at work daily on foreign soil, actively ministering to victimized young women at the aftercare campuses as well as teaching more than 850 sponsored children attending Kids Clubs in three cities.
Sponsoring children in a Rapha Kids Club provides for each child’s school fees, uniforms, medical care, and a social worker. Each child’s family receives nutritional foodstuffs as part of the program. Special awareness training is given to the children about the scourge of human trafficking, so they are equipped to recognize and avoid situations in which they might be especially vulnerable.
Dr. Robin Blair, the Rapha Aftercare Director, reminds us that Rapha knows that “every girl we serve and every staff member with whom we serve is made in the image of God. We honor that image by providing the highest standard of care.”
Rapha International pledges to use precious donor funding “to combat child slavery and sexual exploitation through healing, hope, and freedom.”
Source: Rapha International, Official Website