Rescuing prostitutes and promoting sexual virtue in Nigeria: Virgin’s Pride Network
LAGOS, Nigeria, Wed Mar 16, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In 1995, a Nigerian woman felt called to begin a ministry to help prostitutes leave the sex trade and rehabilitate their lives. The work that she did among the prostitutes, some of whom related the abuse they suffered at the hands of their “customers” and who begged her to help them, resulted in the creation of Nigeria’s Virgin’s Pride Network.
Foundress Nkechi Odebiyi relates in an article on the website of the organization that the inspiration to form the group came to her while at a spiritual retreat in 2008, where she realized that the best way to keep young girls away from prostitution was to help them understand the value of protecting their virginity until marriage.
Mrs. Odebiyi relates that while still young she admired “girls that carried themselves in dignity and purity, girls that were well brought up. It was like desiring to be like them. Also, I wished other girls could be like that.”
She also relates that after having recurring dreams where prostitutes begged her to help them, she began visiting brothels and meeting with prostitutes who were willing to listen to what she had to say.
“Each time I visited brothels to minister, that same question came up, ‘Can you help us?’ and each time I listened to their stories, especially some of the teenage girls (ages 11-19) who dropped out of school for lack of help, yet desired to be schooled but are stuck, my heart ached.”
“Thereafter, the burden to assist these girls became paramount in my heart. But the big question then was how to go about it,” Odebiyi said.
She recounted that the way to accomplish her goal came to her as a revelation while on retreat.
“While thinking, praying and planning on how best to go about helping and rehabilitating these ladies, the revelation about Virgin’s Pride came up in August 2008 at Redemption Camp,” she related. “To discourage prostitution, there is need to encourage the young girls to keep their virginity with pride based on the love and fear of God. Most times ignorance, lack of proper and strong moral up bringing (sic) are the base on which prostitution thrives.”
To this end, Virgin’s Pride Network works, “To breed a new generation of women of high moral integrity, character, substance and purity, who can hold their heads high in an increasingly morally depraved society, and still be a positive reference. To encourage strong family ties where value and spirituality will be inculcated into the children for a happier world.”
The key points of the program include rehabilitating women seeking to leave prostitution, helping traumatized teenage mothers, and reconciling families, while training and counseling young girls on the importance of virginity (purity) and the danger of abortion, STDs, and teenage pregnancy.
The group offers scholarships, counseling and other assistance to orphan girls and distressed teenage mothers, as well as organizing seminars to educate parents on the importance of strong moral upbringing and parental relationship with the children, especially daughters.
“Parents have shown tremendous support and interest, an experience that has given added impetus and courage for me to go on,” Odebiyi said, adding, “The fact remains that most girls don’t know the truth. If they know the truth, they will realize that the best gift a girl can give to her husband is her virginity.”
“I believe that with Virgin’s Pride, an organization established to promote chastity, to teach and campaign about chastity and the importance of virginity until it becomes a life style, a family tradition, not an option, the level of immorality will be curbed and there will emerge a righteous generation,” Mrs. Odebiyi asserts.
For more information about Virgin’s Pride Network, visit their website here.