MANILA – Since the late ‘80s, members of the Samaritana Transformation Ministry have helped and saved a lot of Filipinas who are involved in prostitution.
In an interview with ANC’s Shop Talk, Samaritana co-founder Thelma Nambu said that she started helping women because she felt restless about what she was seeing in society back then.
“I began to wonder what my role is as a Christian and responding to some of the social issues in our society, particularly in prostitution because in the late 80s, women have then gone to work as japayukis,” said Nambu.
“It was then that I began to go out in the streets, in the red light districts and bringing along with me friends. So we would just like to get to know people and some of them like to be helped, like going back to the province. We would raise some money and if they needed a home, them we would offer our home.”
Samaritana Transformation Ministry is a non-profit, non-denominational organization committed to sharing and living out the gospel among Filipino women caught in prostitution.
Nambu said that based on her experience in the field, she learned that women enter prostitution as a result of poverty and having broken backgrounds.
“The main reason why women go into prostitution is, one, poverty and not having enough alternatives for them because most of them are not educated. And also because of broken backgrounds in their homes.”
To address their problems, Samaritana has set up programs that would educate Filipinas involved in prostitution and give them more choices in life.
This includes counseling, back-to-school programs, alternative learning systems, spiritual formation activities, alternative livelihood training.
Under the alternative livelihood training of Samaritana, the women who were saved by the organization are introduced to arts and crafts like jewelry-making and creating homemade cards which they can sell.