It’s almost two years ago that these pages carried the story of the purchase of The Gateway; a building in South Asia that could be used to house freedom businesses and train those who had a desire to start or work in a freedom business. In this edition’s Global Mission Pages, we bring you up-to-date with what has been happening at The Gateway over the past two years.
From the second day after purchase—which was a marathon day in itself, taking ten hours to sign the documents—The Gateway became home. A dream became a miraculous reality as funds came in to meet our need. Even today, two years on, we remain incredulous of the way this building became a part of our community.
Sitting right at the front and centre of the Sonagacchi main lane, the name “The Gateway,” is fitting. Our prayer and hope is that this building will become the gateway to freedom for the thousands trapped in the sex industry.
From its first week, many different types of training were established from this building. With rooms available for accommodation, great kitchens, and some lovely big spaces, The Gateway is the hub for:
- Freedom Encounter—a three-week intensive course for those interested in finding out about how a freedom business runs.
- Freedom Exposure—a year-long internship for emerging church leaders who then move into roles within Freeset, e.g. into the lead role of new businesses established.
- Trauma Counselling—a year-long course for social/health workers across eight separate freedom businesses and organisations.
The Gateway has also hosted some significant celebrations, including Freeset’s annual birthday and Christmas parties, Sari Bari’s (freedom business) tenth birthday, and the Tamar Community Centre’s fifth birthday.
A small production unit, administration office, Tamar office and counselling space have already been operating here, and Freeset Bags and Apparel’s t-shirt production moved in this month. We currently have twenty new women in training also based here.
The Gateway has hosted many teams and visitors who have given of their time and talents—electricians, plumbers, painters, artists and many just willing to scrub and clean—all have contributed in changing this building into a place of freedom. With much yet to be renovated, feel free to come on over and lend a hand!
As we glimpse into next year we hope to open the doors to:
- The Cup—a simple gathering place where cha, coffee and chat can happen.
- A childcare facility (aiming for 100 children one day).
- New freedom businesses we don’t even know about yet but believe are part of the eternal plan.
We long to see our community transformed from a place of slavery, despair and pain to one of hope, joy and faith, and The Gateway is helping us do that.