Micah 6:8 works with safe houses for human sex trafficking survivors
FAU student Abigail Howard, 20, founded her nonprofit almost accidentally.
At the time, the Rhode Island-native was a college freshman at a school in Pennsylvania where she was in the midst of transferring schools.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,” she said. “I was following what everyone else does, go to college for four years and get a job.”
Then, her phone rang. It was an old friend from home with an urgent question.
He was hosting a service trip and there was one spot left. She had two hours to decide if she could scramble together $600 to attend.
“I said when is this opportunity going to ever happen again?” she said.
So, she called her friend back and agreed. Within three weeks she raised the money and was on her way to Tijuana, Mexico to volunteer in a safe house.
“I had no idea what a safe house was,” she said.
Soon, she would find out and helping support existing safe homes through financial donations would become her passion.
She said she remembers walking through the city’s “Red Light District” where police officers would solicit girls, to reach the safe house.
She spent time with the women and learned their stories. Some wanted to teach, others wanted to become therapists.
“What surprised me the most was these girls were not sad and not depressed,” she said. “There was so much joy coming from their faces.”
She saw the love and help the safe houses provided the survivors and when she got home from the trip she knew she wanted to help even more.
“I wanted to be able to fund different safe houses around the world,” she said.
It was 2 a.m. after her flight and she said she began researching how to do that. When she realized no organization of the kind existed, she thought of creating her own.
The process of creating a nonprofit overwhelmed her so she went to sleep thinking her idea would blow over in the morning.
When she woke up still thinking about how to help, she got serious about forming an official nonprofit.
Two months later and another $600 and Micah 6:8 was created.
“I am trying to break boundaries,” she said. “I was told by a lot of people that I was making the wrong decision and that what I was doing wouldn’t make a difference.”
She said she kept pushing on and didn’t let others get in the way of her vision.
She said the name of the nonprofit came from a bracelet the survivors in Tijuana bought her with some of their 300 pesos allowance.
While coming up with the concept of the nonprofit, she said she was playing with the bracelet.
She looked in her bible and found the quote that talks about acting justly with kindness and humbly with your God and determined the name would a fit for her mission.
Since March, she has partnered with two safe houses. The one she visited in Tijuana called International Network of Hearts, which inspired her to form Micah 6:8, and one in Miami called Glory House.
Survivors are welcomed both into the long-term facility and drop-in/community center. Among the services they provide are; medical care, spiritual guidance, mental health care, social services, legal support, reintegration, education, arts, vocational training, and job and life skills training.
She has visited International Network of Hearts five times. Before she decides to partner with a safe house, she visits the facilities to make sure they are providing adequate treatment and services to survivors.
After the safe house is selected, fundraisers are created in order to fund that specific safe house.
Part of why she formed the nonprofit is to make sure donations are going directly to helping the cause.
Her overall goal is to create a network for safe houses around the globe.
For more information on Micah 6:8 or to donate, visit Facebook: www.facebook.com/projectmicah68 (donations can be made through the donate button on facebook right through Paypal), Instagram @projectmicah68 or email firstname.lastname@example.org