El Refugio–A Shelter from the Storm

“El Refugio”, just the name, the refuge, can bring a sense of peace to a troubled heart. The dictionary defines “refugio”  as “a place of shelter, safety or protection” (from danger or trouble) and that is exactly what ten adolescent mothers find in this home established by Fundacion Arco Iris. These teens enter the home with shattered dreams. Many have been abused and raped by the very ones that should have been protecting them-their fathers or brothers. Many of them have been crushed when their mothers turned a deaf ear to their cries and refused to acknowledge what was happening before their very eyes, much less stand in defense of their own daughters. All of them share a common plight- they enter heart-broken, confused, and overwhelmed while holding in their arms a precious, defenseless child. These young mothers are children themselves, children in desperate need of love, protection and nurturing. But they are heroes as they  valiantly embracing their new found role.

In “Casa de Refugio” the girls find a safe place and a new family to help them start over. They are supported by a warm staff that includes a psychologist and a social worker.  These are devoted to loving and teaching these teens how to become moms, how to run a home and how to develop skills that are marketable. All of the moms go to school during the day while their children stay in the safety of Casa de Refugio or go to The “guarderia” or day care center of Arco Iris. The mothers can trust that their children are in a safe, loving environment. The most important thing is that these girls are given a time of healing with the tender, compassionate care of a loving staff. In the past six years since the home opened, 220 mothers and babies have been helped and given the opportunity to dream again for themselves as well as for their children.

 -Lin Beaty
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