"... also a woman named Damaris."
– ACTS 17 : 34
Community House Damaris (CHD) is a Christian organization that operates a safe house based in Athens, Greece and offers a long-term recovery program (three to seven years) for women age 18 to 35 and their children who have been or are at high risk of sexual exploitation or trafficking. Our program is designed to guide survivors into full rehabilitation and reintegration into society by addressing the following needs –
1. MENTAL HEALTH
Addressing Trauma and Mental Health
2. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Teaching Life Skills, Personal Goals, Relationship Management, and Parenthood
3. ADDRESSING POVERTY
Offering Vocational Training for the Workplace Environment
Providing Access to Medical Services and Daily Hygiene
5. SOCIAL SERVICES
Giving Access to Public Services for Documents and Social Integration
CHD works with a diverse array of women from various cultural backgrounds, but takes on cases with the singular goal of providing an atmosphere – safe housing and therapeutic programming – that facilitates long-term restoration. The services offered at Damaris have been tailored to, but are not exclusive to, women who are considered of refugee status, internally displaced, or stateless and those who are pregnant or single mothers.
OUR MISSION + VISION
Empowering women and their children
– who have been sexually exploited and trafficked –
with the opportunity for recovery, restoration, and reintegration.
For this reason, we:
Provide a long-term Residential Program with trauma informed care in a safe environment.
We provide a long-term and holistic Day Program to guide survivors into full rehabilitation and reintegration into society by addressing their needs.
We train, network and promote awareness in the community of this demographic’s specific needs.
Community House Damaris Vision Statement
A FREE AND RESTORED LIFE
FOR ALL SEX TRAFFICKED & EXPLOITED
GIRLS, AND THEIR CHILDREN
For nearly ten years, Dina – founder of Community House Damaris (CHD) – worked as a volunteer in some of the 300 brothels of downtown Athens serving victims of exploitation and trafficking. She found that the girls she was ministering to faced huge barriers to escape their situation as they were largely without families, papers, money, language proficiency, or the skills to find a job outside of a brothel. During this time, she realized that something more was necessary. For years, she prayed for the opportunity to provide a safe place for these women to find freedom, experience restoration, and begin reintegration into society.
Dina had a vision of an organization that would become Damaris House – a place where survivors of trafficking and exploitation could live in safety while learning the emotional and practical skills enabling them to eventually reintegrate into society. She evaluated and visited models of these type of programs across North America.
In 2015, she adopted the program of Servants Anonymous (SA) Foundation
in Canada because of its depth, length, and results in the lives of the participants. She took the first steps of implementing this model by inviting seven women who embraced her vision to form the legal body of CHD. In March 2016, CHD was established as a nonprofit organization in Athens, Greece. Her vision became a reality, and a suitable house was found which was fully renovated and equipped in order to host the Residential and Day Program participants, as well as the organization’s offices. The Day Program launched on April 15, 2016 and in May the first participants moved into the safe house.
Since opening, Community House Damaris has blossomed. As new participants joined the program, more space was needed. In March 2017, the offices and the Day Program were transferred to a new, larger building.
Four years after establishing Community House Damaris, 20 women have been served at Damaris and sought recovery from trafficking and exploitation. 24 babies and toddlers have had mothers with program involvement, 11 of which were born at Damaris House. To read more of our results, visit our Program Results page.
Community House Damaris is based on the Christian heritage of creating safe places for the vulnerable and care for the needy. For many of our sex-trafficked and exploited survivors this will be the first safe place that they experience unconditional love and -hopefully- find hope and purpose. We are named in honor of the first female Christian convert, Damaris, when the Apostle Paul preached in Athens.