Hands of Honor – Fatim’s Story – Part 2
It wasn’t until Fatim called her mom from the bus station in Dakar that we knew she was safe. The man hadn’t gotten the appropriate paperwork, but in the dead of night, he snuck her across the border. Once in Senegal, he bribed someone to let her on a bus headed for Dakar. I spent a lot of time praying with my friend, Mah, in those days of waiting. She told me she felt God’s peace when we prayed.
God revealed His care and concern for Mah by protecting her business. In all of the stress, one night she left the keys to her restaurant in the lock. She couldn’t believe it when a neighbor she didn’t even know returned them to her the next day without anything having been stolen. Extreme poverty is a reality my friend lives day in and day out. It forces her to make choices that you and I could never imagine.
Several months after arriving in Dakar, Mah hired out Fatim as a maid to a Senegalese family.
I struggled with my friend’s decision to put her daughter into child labor. Through Hands of Honor, I’ve been an advocate in my community against child labor and focused so much energy on bringing an end to it. I encouraged Mah not to go in this direction; I told her that Hands of Honor could help send Fatim to school, but Mah didn’t need a daughter in school, she needed the $45 a month that Fatim would make to pay her rent. The impact of the pandemic on her restaurant was making it difficult for her to make ends meet.
I made sure to keep in touch with Fatim and asked her often if she was treated fairly by her new employers. Our family’s relationship with Mah and Fatim grew. They became more receptive to us sharing our relationship with Jesus; they asked us to pray for them and even joined us on Easter Sunday at our local church.
As the months passed, I assumed that the opportunity for Fatim to attend school was over until a recent visit with Mah. She was so discouraged. The rains had come in Dakar and with them, the unbearable living conditions in the slum community where Mah lives. She’d been in a relationship with a man who’d promised to marry her, but she’d recently come to realize that he was only using her. In our conversation, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “I don’t care what it takes; I don’t want this life for my daughter. Can you still get her into school this fall?”
I had a visit from Fatim yesterday. Grinning from ear to ear, she said to me, “Did you hear? I’m going to school!”
Your partnership and generosity with Hands of Honor allowed Fatim to enroll in a private vocational school in October 2021, where she is thriving and learning a skill set that will provide her with safe employment. Mah and Fatim are being discipled weekly by Hands of Honor staff, and they are on a journey to Jesus.
Alliance Women encourages you to partner with Hands of Honor through your prayers and financial contributions. We have set a goal to raise $25,000 to help Hands of Honor expand its ministry to young West African girls. For more information, please visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.