The Safe House
A large part of our work at the GSP is the Safe House, which has been sheltering at-risk children since it opened in 2002.
The safe house is essentially group foster care, offering a home for around 12 children at a time who have been removed from situations of abuse or neglect by the local courts.
The safe house parents, Jonas and his wife Andrea, run it like a family home, and the children are loved and cared for in a safe and stable environment.
Love and stability for children with nowhere else to go
Children come to the safe house for all sorts of reasons, but all of them have had a hard start to life.
Several have been there for over 5 years with others coming and going as the court's mandate.
“Emily” and her sister were often starved by their mother, and even years later, Emily is still a compulsive eater, and will eat until she is sick. Her favourite food is bananas, so these have to be kept out of reach! They have now been adopted by their aunt and are very happy there.
The Safe House Today
Our safe house is respected by local judges as one of the best in the area, and we have had many great successes.
Our aim is always to unite the children with their birth families again wherever possible, and we work with the parents to this end.
Where this isn’t possible, they are often adopted, sometimes by other family members.
The children go to school during the week, and take part in the community activities. A recent development in Brazilian foster law means that local families can also now sign up for short term fostering, taking one or two children for a weekend or longer during the holidays. This means they can go on trips or have treats in a way that the group care can’t always provide.
Although the local government contributes to the running of the safe houses to be run, the money is far short of what is needed, and is often not paid for months at a time.
With the help of volunteers and donations through the Good Shepherd Project, we are able to keep the safe house running for the children, and give them the best chance in life.
The Safe House Parents
Jonas and Andrea met in 1997 while studying, fell in love in 1998 and have been married since 1999. They work together as parents to the Safe House children, and see it as their calling in life to serve as part of the project.
Jonas was originally part of the Project’s committee in Brazil, but had to drop out due to work commitments. He continued to help out where he could, and found himself challenged when his longtime friend Lucas gave up a career in Futsal management to become the full time coordinator of the Project.
Jonas and Andrea felt that God was calling them to work in Fatima as a family, through the words of Romans 10:14.
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
They joined the Project full time in 2011, and have served as Safe House parents since then. Though the work is tiring they could not think of doing anything else, they want to continue to use their marriage and family to bless others.
Jesse their son is also a source of great joy for them, he loves his life as one of the children at the Safe House. He has grown up happily accepting his 11+ brothers and sisters, welcoming them and helping them to settle in at the Safe House.