Kwagala Project (previously known as Purse of a Hope) was set forth in 2007 to provide aftercare for children exploited by the commercial sex industry.
Founder Kristen Hendricks was impelled to act after watching a video segment that featured a young girl living and working in a brothel in Bombay. Unable to shake the haunting images, she began further investigating the issues surrounding the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. The scope and complexity of children ensnared in prostitution is no doubt daunting, but to do nothing seemed unimaginable.
In the spring of 2008, a team traveled to Uganda and listened as a group of teenagers briefly described the horror of what they had endured. The seemingly abstract realities of their lives became very tangible once the girls shared how they were affected. The stories are real, the pain and hopelessness clearly displayed in the faces, bodies, and lifestyles of these wounded and disadvantaged children are real. The diseases kill, the destitution kills, and it's hard, at times, to not feel hopeless to change things. And yet, despite the darkness, glimmers of hope appear. A girl with a new community of sisters and mentors, food for her stomach, counseling and support for her pain, has the opportunity to heal and learn new skills for a new life.
Having received so much, touched by the greatest thing that has ever happened in her life, she is motivated and encouraged to give back, and ease the suffering of her fellow sisters. These beautiful people become the change in their society, so worthy of the investment of "a hand up". We know because we have seen that hope restored and there is nothing more amazing than being a part of that change.
Their mission today is to improve the lives of young victims of the commercial sex trade and give them hope for the future. They believe that healing from such trauma is not only possible, but is just the beginning. They strive not only to help them recover but to help them discover their own self-worth and God-given potential so that they may thrive, dream, achieve their goals and eventually carry hope back to their communities.