FOCUS catches up with Stephanie from Destiny Rescue. We talk about the charity and ask Stephanie how she became involved.
Stephanie, tell us a bit about yourself and Destiny Rescue.
I am 31 years old and grew up in Port Macquarie, leaving for a few years to attend the University of Newcastle and complete a B.Nursing. I married Damien, a Primary School Teacher in 2000 and we have four children. I am currently studying a B.Theology through St Marks Theological College which is affiliated with CSU and also volunteer for Destiny Rescue. Destiny Rescue is an Australian based organization which rescues children who have been sold into child sexual slavery and prostitution. As a mother of four, I personally cannot bear to think about what these children endure and sit back and do nothing about it. Destiny Rescue has rescue homes in Thailand, Cambodia, Mozambique and India and literally rescues girls from brothels in Bangkok and houses them providing rehabilitation, counseling, health care and training so that these beautiful women will have a future and a hope.
You’re holding an event called Dollar for Destiny: Fashion for a Passion, tell us a little about it..
This is the second of these events to be held and essentially, we are holding a huge, quality, pre-loved market stall at the People Builders Centre in Port Macquarie. The event was born out of a Divine word which I received almost two years ago. I waited until the right moment which came in the form of my beautiful friend, Claire Paine. Together we created the title ‘Dollar for Destiny: Fashion with a Passion’ and determined that since we both enjoyed ‘op shopping’, perhaps we could team our two passions together, that is clothing and our love for the broken and exploited and do something which would have life changing consequences. The event sells quality used clothing and all proceeds raised go directly to Destiny Rescue to assist in rescuing more children from forced prostitution. The event will be held on Saturday, 24th September, 2011 from 12noon to 4pm at the People Builders Centre, located in Bay Street Port Macquarie and there will be live music, mystery door prizes and fabulous bargains for savvy shoppers. The support of the People Builders Centre has been an integral component in allowing the event to go forth and without the support of Jeff and Karen Atherton along with all members of People Builders we would not be able to hold such a large scale event.
The event raised $2,00 last year, what are you hoping to raise this year?
Both Claire and I realize that many have fallen on tough financial times, but I don’t believe that our goal of at least $5000 is unrealistic. If 500 people spent $10 at our event, then our target would be met. I believe that despite the difficult financial woes of the day, the saying ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ is something worth clinging to. To know that your purchase at this event has helped restore or rescue a girl from a life of sexual abuse and torture is more than enough reason to support this event and be generous towards the cause.
The money raised is being used for a great cause, tell us a bit about that.
We tend to think slavery is an archaic notion, something that reminds us of eras past, but the harsh and confronting reality is that at the moment, the 21st century yields more slaves than any other time in history. Every 26 seconds a child is sold into prostitution, sometimes for as little as $200. It is really quite unimaginable. The youngest child in the Destiny Rescue program was just 8 years old and she was forced to have sexual relations with at least 10 men a day! This information will be confronting and disturbing to many, but I believe that if we know about this, then we are responsible to ensure that it does not continue. The funds raised from this event will be used to construct more housing for rescued girls and the President and founder of Destiny Rescue, Tony Kirwan has just shared that Destiny is in real financial strife as there are so many children being rescued and not enough funds available to construct housing and provide basic necessities. Ironically, it’s a good problem to have, but realistically, if the money is unavailable for infrastructure, children will have to be left in these abhorrent circumstances. I am not prepared to see that happen.
How can readers get involved?
Readers can become involved by firstly attending our event on 24th September. The more we have in attendance then the more we can increase awareness levels and raise funds for these precious girls. Secondly, we need quality clothing donations. All donated items can be left at the People Builders Centre or if you contact me on 0408860812 a pickup service is available. We are asking that all clothes donated be in good condition and for hygiene and health purposes we are unable to accept underwear or swimwear that has been worn. Thirdly, please tell your friends, family and colleagues about the event. Word of mouth is the best way for Destiny Rescue to become known and the more people who say no to child exploitation, the better the chances are in substantially reducing and eventually eliminating this industry.
Contact Stephanie Tedd
0408 860 812