The obstacles and struggles facing millions of young girls across the world today are real. Imagine for 30 seconds that you have been subjected to physical, mental or sexual abuse daily, nothing to call your own, and are being told what to do, when to do it and how. And, you’re only eight years old.
Right now in Africa there is a young girl being stripped of her dignity, identity, innocence, dreams and hopes, and forced into slavery and unthinkable forms of abuse. Several years from now the girl’s family, who gave her up In order to avoid facing the gods’ wrath, will still not welcome her back. Therefore, she is forced to continue to serve at the nearby shrine to the gods for the rest of her life. If she tries to escape and return to her family, the village will stone her to death in the belief that she will bring a curse upon it. This practice, called Trokosi, is a crime and continues to threaten future generations of young women and their communities.
I have been called to use my compassion, skills and professional training in counseling and social work to serve these young women who are in such great need of seeing and knowing God’s love, guidance and support. As a missionary, I’ll be promoting the critical importance of mental health in empowering self-sustaining individuals, families and communities.
My endorsement by International Ministries (IM) and Ghana Baptist Convention as a missionary will afford me the privilege and opportunity to serve in Ghana, Africa at the Baptist Vocational Training Center. This wonderful center provides a safe environment for young girls devastated by Trokosi – a place for them to restore their lives, gain strength, build self-esteem and learn to love again. It is an honor to serve in a spiritually enriching capacity to rehabilitate lives and communities, and continue the work that I’ve been called to do more than a decade ago.
In 2000, I volunteered to help with a vacation bible school in Jamaica through my home church, Friendship Missionary Baptist in Charlotte, North Carolina. My passion for missions was fueled again when I was invited by Teen Challenge South Africa-Western Cape to do social work and staff development in South Africa in 2011. I worked closely with a challenged population of young adults battling substance and physical abuse, human trafficking, gang violence, and issues of grief, depression and poor self image. It was upon my return to Africa for the second time in 2012/2013 that I discovered this work would be my life’s purpose. I cannot think of a better way to spend my life than pursuing my three loves: working for my God, helping others and exploring various cultures.
During all of my missionary experiences, I realized how important and effective physical treatments and interventions are if individuals are emotionally healthy and mentally supported. There is an African proverb that asserts, "it takes a village…." That proverb is a constant reminder that this work is greater than me. It will take a team – of individuals known and unknown – working together with one belief and singular goal. I believe it is a disservice to have the ability to make a difference yet do nothing. With your prayers and generous support, you’ll partner with me in doing something: Being a part of the Missionary Partnership Network for God to help make the lives of many young girls in Ghana much, much better.
Who Am I
Rovaughna E. Richardson resides in Charlotte, NC and is well prepared for her role in counseling and education in Ghana. She holds a masters of education in guidance and counseling, and another masters degree specializing in human development and family studies from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She also has an undergraduate degree in social work from the same university. Richardson specializes in behavioral health with extensive experience working with young adults and families struggling with mental health and family dysfunction issues, as well as a focus on staff and community development.
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