NAM is here to serve in many different ways. In 2022, one of those ways will be as a source of knowledge with a congregational partner, John Wesley United Methodist Church. Through their long-standing relationship with a congregation in Kenya, a pastor there, was connected to NAM as he works to help survivors of domestic violence.
“Reverend Joe is the Pastor of this Kenyan congregation, and one of his life’s dreams is to start a domestic violence program in Kenya,“ said Sheryl, Director of the NAM Family Violence Center. “For a visit that Rev. Joe is making to the US, he wanted to know if there were any domestic violence programs he could meet with, and JWUMC immediately thought of us.”
The visit, which took place January 24th, 2022, will bring together both John Wesley United Methodist Church and NAM, to provide assistance for Rev. Joe’s aspirations. “We plan on having a one-on-one conversation, to answer any questions Pastor Joe has about running a shelter,” said Sheryl “He is very interested in talking about client safety and protocols - something we can address as we have those protocols in place here at NAM as a nonresidential program.”
Though NAM does not have a shelter, the Family Violence Center is able to provide the knowledge needed for how to aid victims fleeing situations of abuse, and best practices on how to provide security, counseling, and other services for survivors.
“I’ll provide the Texas Administrative Code, the state guidelines for how to run a shelter, to help answer his questions,” said Sheryl, regarding some of the support that NAM can provide. “It provides information on privacy room divisions, safety , and other practical things, so I am hoping that it helps with some of Pastor Joe’s questions."
The shelter in Kenya that Pastor Joe established has taken several years to complete, and is now in the final stages of construction. It currently has 27 rooms, that can be used for singles or families.
"I learned alot about what the Family Violence Center is doing here," said Rev. Joe, during his visit at NAM. "How you are able to support victims and how to connect them to shelters. We are hoping to replicate this in Kenya. "
In Rev. Joe's role as a church minister, there were incidents of domestic violence in his community, and his church sought support for people who experienced this, especially women and children. "So this is what gave us cause to find a way to help them: by having a shelter, so they could have a place to come and stay for a few days," said Rev. Joe. "We are also looking for ways to provide advocacy for them, because most of the women do not know their rights, and do not understand the constitution of the country and the rules or laws of the country."
"When they come to us, we do our best to understand the cases, because each and every person has a different story and different reason," continued Rev. Joe. "We will be linking them with government authorities and other institutions that can support them, but the safe house will be a like a landing where they can after they have gone through the experience of domestic violence, and a place where we can help them get a way out of that situation."
"Rev. Joe is quite a progressive thinker," said Pastor Cheryl Smith of JWUMC, who linked Rev. Joe to NAM's Family Violence Center. "He works very hard for girls education, and for the rights of the women who are being abused and who do not even know their rights. Because I know him, it is not surprising to me that he saw this need and is leading the churches that are trying to meet this need. It makes sense to me that he would develop this program to help abused women. "
"I want to say thank you so much for the work that NAM is doing, as a help to the community," said Rev. Joe, "We have been encouraged, and we believe we can make it. The information I got here is important, because it will help us in the stages of our program's development. I hope once we start this program in Kenya, we can continue this partnership with Northwest Assistance Ministries."