I’m Stephanie Freed, CEO of Rapha House International, and I have some exciting news to share with you. Because of your faithfulness and dedication to this critical work, we were able to celebrate our 15th anniversary at the end of 2018. As we took the opportunity to look back over the growth of Rapha House, our US and international leadership teams decided to honor our past and our future by intentionally focusing on a strategic planning process for the first quarter of 2019. We labored through transparent discussions of organizational strengths and weaknesses. We shined a light in each corner of our operations as we evaluated the effectiveness of our programs. As a team, we identified changes that needed to be made, and we were able to cast an exciting vision for the future.
One thing we carefully considered was our name itself. Rapha is a Hebrew word, which means “healing,” and healing is indeed our heartbeat. The word “house” in our name, however, has become a source of confusion. When we began the work of Rapha House in 2003, we were one safe house program operating out of one structure in Battambang, Cambodia. Within just a few years, we had built and moved into an expansive high-security aftercare campus. This would be the first of four aftercare campuses which would be built over the next 16 years. When our partners realize that these aftercare campuses contain multiple cottages, schools, counseling and art centers, dining halls and administrative buildings, there is often confusion as they have imagined a singular house.
Over the past few years, a different kind of confusion has emerged concerning the usage of the word “house” in our name, and it is now undeniable that this confusion could actually hinder our ability to do our work. Our dealings with some of our governmental and non-profit partners have shown us that using “house” in our name suggests to some that we are an orphanage or children’s home, a suggestion we want to avoid, as our work has a very different mission.
Our desire is to help children heal and receive justice in our aftercare programs, and our vision is to see them thriving in safe communities.
While our name “Rapha House” has served us well, it no longer speaks to our extensive social work efforts to help families become healthy so that children might have the opportunity to live in the God-given model of family and community. It doesn’t speak to our prevention programs where children, who are at risk for trafficking, are protected and empowered in their own communities. It doesn’t speak to the collaborations with government partners in helping children who have been separated from their families in illegal orphanages be reunited and reintegrated to their families.
As we honor the first 15 years of our work together and the firm foundation which has been built, we are excited to announce that Rapha House is transitioning our name to Rapha International! Our mission remains the same- to end the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, one child at a time- through aftercare for survivors, prevention for the vulnerable and awareness for all. And our very big vision is to see all children living in sustainable freedom within safe communities.
Our commitment from the beginning remains our commitment now: Rapha International helps you combat child slavery and sexual exploitation through healing, hope and freedom.
Thank you for your love, faithfulness and dedication to the children we serve. Together, we forge ahead in our critical mission to see children heal and thrive!