Author: Rachel, WAR, Int’l Intern
Before coming to intern at Women At Risk, International (WAR), I knew little about WAR, and to be honest, I still feel like I have much to discover because there are so many things that this organization does and I feel like I have only seen a glimpse of all there is. There is no doubt in my mind that this is exactly where God wanted me to be because every other door was completely closed, with a lock, and the door to WAR was flung wide open. Despite all that I have learned, I am still figuring out how this is preparing me and impacting me for what is to come in the future.
I do know that I have been equipped with knowledge, even though there is so much that I still need to learn to educate others about human trafficking, especially in West Michigan & Grand Rapids, as well as advocating for victims of trafficking and other risk areas. Additionally, I want to tell people about WAR, because I feel like there are so many people who have never heard of this organization and the boutique and they are missing out because this place is full of good people.
The emphasis that WAR placed on serving me, instead of what I could do for them, surprised me again and again. The desire to serve me, among other things, has shown me how much I really love people and value relationships. It is crystal clear to me that WAR cares deeply about people, no matter who they are, and while I haven’t been here long enough to really break out of my shell, I still feel confident that I will have a place here because this is an organization centered around providing a safe place for people.
Throughout the three months that I have interned at WAR, I have learned a lot about myself, but mainly about trafficking – about the multitude of people everywhere that it affects, about the myths and stereotypes surrounding trafficking and prostitution as well as the mindset of trafficking victims, and about the wide range of needs that victims have. This has been an incredibly eye-opening experience and my heart has been broken multiple times (it doesn’t require much for me but it hurts just the same). Honestly, it feels quite overwhelming at times because I want to fix it all and have all the skills to help, but I know that I, unfortunately, cannot do it on my own.
I have already been able to share with those closest to me the realities of trafficking in West Michigan and help make them aware of who is at risk and what we can do to help, which is what I want to continue to do. I hope to use my work to advocate for survivors of trafficking and to help make WAR more well known. I don’t have a clear picture of what that looks like yet but I am excited for the potential.
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