While at Goshen College, Rachel Halder ’10, from Parnell, Iowa, studied communications and women’s studies. Since graduating, Rachel designed and worked in support groups for young girls and women in Peru and Indonesia.
Before Rachel Halder went to Peru with Goshen College’s semester-long Study-Service Term, she never thought that the issue of prostitution would become her life’s mission.
After working with a local parish in the coastal town of Chimbote – one of the poorest cities in Peru – she felt drawn to help the young women of the community who, without a source of income, frequently ended up on the streets.
“There were plenty of programs for the boys, but nothing for the girls in the community,” Rachel said.
Rachel started Chicas de la Prevención, a support group designed to provide motivation and encouragement for young girls, and enlisted a group of older women who made hand-woven bracelets for tourists to teach the younger girls their trade.
“I wanted to show them they can make an income doing something besides prostitution,” she said.
Selling over 2,000 bracelets herself to family and friends, and at festivals, farmer’s markets and church functions, Rachel has sent more than $6,000 directly back to the community in Chimbote.
She believes bracelet-making gives the girls a positive outlook for the future.
“It shows them they’re worth more than their society tells them they’re worth,” Rachel said. “It shows them a future other than what they see around them.”