Long-Term Aftercare: Why?

The Rose Garden Program (RGP) offers long-term aftercare to women (with or without children) who are escaping from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Why long-term? No woman ever experiences sexual exploitation without experiencing trauma and this trauma affects and colors every aspect of her life – emotional, psychological, physical, relational, and spiritual – and she needs time in a healing community to process through her own life’s story.

The Rose Garden Program is designed to meet the specific recovery needs of sexually exploited/trafficked women. These women face very different recovery issues than do other victims of abuse, such as domestic abuse. It is well known throughout the recovery industry that sexually exploited/trafficked women have the highest number of barriers to overcome. These barriers include childhood abuse and abandonment, addictions, educational and employment gaps, learning disabilities, fetal alcohol syndrome/effect, and trauma experienced while in the sex trade. Our Program is offered in a non-clinical and non-institutional atmosphere to facilitate the building of relationships and community, which are two components essential for any woman to connect and integrate into society.

A recovery-oriented curriculum of classes and training in life and employability skills are provided during a full-time work week at the Learning Center of the Rose Garden Program. The Learning Center is licensed by the Bulgarian Ministry of Labor and Social Polity as a Day Center for the Rehabilitation and Social Integration for women who have suffered sexual exploitation.

We love, care, and challenge holistically each woman who hopes for a new way of life.

We offer hope for a future free from sexual exploitation.

We of the RGP are a people eager and committed to help and serve each other and the women who have chosen to participate in our Program.

Phase I - A Place of Healing

The Rose Garden Program has adopted the SA Program Model which offers a long-term recovery program for women (often with their children) who have been sexually exploited and/or trafficked. This Program Model includes increased levels of independence for women participants which is factored into every Program Phase.

Phase I Recovery Program Delivery

From the first day of intake into the Rose Garden Program, the participant joins the Learning Center Day Program and attends classes from 10:00 to 17:00, Monday through Friday. She receives assistance with medical, psychological, legal/documentation needs. She also receives assistance in meeting her practical needs such as finding a kindergarten or school for her children, or herself should she choose to increase her level of education. Every participant receives a monthly financial stipend which she can use for her personal needs, such as food, toiletries, medicines, clothing, etc.

Our specialized Recovery Curriculum equips each participant to:

  • Manage and work through her past issues of abuse
  • Manage and work through any current addiction issues
  • Learn to engage in healthy relationships
  • Improve her quality of life
  • Increase her level of self-esteem
  • Learn to parent in a positive way, breaking the cycle of abuse in the lives of her children
  • Increase her level of education
  • Learn skills for employment

The participant’s day at the Learning Center Day Program is divided into two segments.

One segment is Personal Recovery with courses including Relapse Prevention, 12 Steps for Addiction Recovery, Anger Management, Self-Esteem, Parenting, Co-Dependency, and more. This is accomplished through short interactive class periods, educational and recreational outings.

The second segment is enrollment in the Skills Development & Education
Program, Level 1. The goal of training in Level I is to assess the participant’s needs for learning while at the same time giving her the opportunity to engage in and practice new skills. This part of the Day Program at the Learning Center allows her to develop routines which are critical for her sense of stability. During this level small changes in her character and behavior become obvious as she learns how to interact with others while maintaining healthy boundaries and structures. She learns how to apply the standards for achieving professionalism in the work place, such as reliability, fairness, and discretion.

It is a proven part of recovery, that working with her hands is therapeutic especially since she has extremely high levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She is invited and encouraged to participate in sewing classes, jewelry making, and simple note card making which are great platforms for starting the processes of healing and character development. At this Level, the Learning Center Day programing also provides classes in computer literacy, in foreign language acquisition, and literacy/academics.

After a suitable period of time over which development in her character is seen and evaluated by the staff, the participant is able to progress to the next Level of personal equipping and training for success in society.

Phase I Part-Time Recovery Program Delivery

The Part-Time Program is designed for a woman who is unable to participate fully in the Phase I Program for different reasons which could include employment with conflicting hours, enrollment in a school with conflicting schedules, or her living situation is too far away to be able to participate full-time, etc. The Rose Garden Program staff is able to create a tailored curriculum to meet her specific needs. She is also strongly encouraged to participate in some of the modular recovery and training courses that are offered at the Learning Center. If necessary, it is possible to arrange for this via Skype.

Phase I Housing Opportunity (front-line)

A woman begins as a full-time participant in the RGP by leaving her life of being exploited sexually and is offered the possibility of moving into one of our apartments. Our unique “home” structure provides her with a supportive context in which she is able to develop or learn basic living skills, and also encourages her to live independently while sharing common living areas with no more than four other women participants. She has her own fully furnished bedroom and shares the common areas of the kitchen, balconies, bathrooms, and living areas. Just like at home, she is encouraged to come and go freely from the apartment as long as she respects the rules including curfews. An RGP volunteer residence director lives full-time in the apartment and provides oversight and guidance to the women participants living with her. Each apartment is designed to be a respite and a place of healing for each participant who is committed to her own recovery. As long as the participant is enrolled full-time at the Learning Center Day Program, the Phase I housing opportunity can extend up to one year.

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Friday Fun Days!

Many Friday afternoons at the Learning Center, the focus is placed on recreational events, excursions and relaxing activities. These events range from bowling to day trips outside of Sofia, to movies, making handcrafts, hiking, and picnics in the parks. Friday Fun Days are open to all participants regardless of their personal recovery program phase, and is also a way for potential participants to “check out” the Rose Garden Program Day Program before committing to enrollment.

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Cuddles & Care

Support for our mothers with infants

The RGP offers mothers with infants the option of keeping their babies (0-2) with them while they are engaged at the Learning Center Day Program. This is a vital component of our program as it fosters a healthy mother and child attachment and provides a loving, non-judgmental environment for mothers and children to grow and heal.

Phase II - A Place of Equipping

Phase II Program Delivery

The Phase II level of Program Delivery is provided to each participant who has graduated from Phase I and also has a clearly defined plan to pursue employment or to continue her academic education towards a specific skill. Her goal is to be equipped to begin a new career and to transition away from financial assistance provided in Phase I. She is able to evaluate her personal growth and to begin to channel her talents in a targeted way as she intentionally builds for her future reintegration into society.

When she enrolls in the Level 2 Skills Development & Education Program her goal is to continue to refine the skills of her choice that she acquired in Level 1, whether that be in hand work, development of computer skills, or advancement in her academic abilities.

At this Level, she progresses in her development of skills which will open employment options for her future.

Phase II Housing Opportunity (transitional)

In Phase II a woman participating full-time in the Learning Center Day Program is offered the opportunity to live in an apartment provided by the RGP along with no more than four other women. One of these women is the volunteer resident support director who offers on-site problem-solving assistance as needed. This Phase II Housing opportunity is for a participant who has not reached all the markers of success for independent living. She is responsible for her own fully furnished bedroom and shares responsibilities for the common areas of the kitchen, balconies, bathrooms, and living areas. She is encouraged to come and go freely from the apartment while respecting the residence rules. In this Phase there is no curfew because she is capable of self-regulation. It is also for participants who require ongoing financial support. This housing opportunity is particularly useful for a participant as it gives her support while she transitions into independent living, either into the Phase III or into her own apartment. Phase II usually lasts up to one year.

Phase III - A Place Within Society

Phase III Program Delivery

The goal in Phase III is for the participant to continue to develop an excellent work ethic, to decide on a career path for her future, and progress towards building her skills to achieve this goal. She will have graduated from the Personal Recovery Curricula as well as from Levels 1 and 2 of the Skill Development & Education Program. When she enrolls in Level 3, she will continue with her education and career development as she reintegrates into society. During this time she is offered ongoing emotional and relational help from the staff, especially through the 12 Steps group therapy meetings. If she needs it, she may apply for financial assistance.

At Level 3, the participant is encouraged to secure part-time employment outside of the Rose Garden Program, and if she asks for help, the RGP staff will assist her in securing a position. However, one of her options is to apply for employment within the Rose Garden Program. If she is offered a position, she is required to participate in the 12 Steps group therapy groups and to continue to make progress in her own personal recovery towards freedom. She is also eligible to apply for an internship with the Daughters of Bulgaria Foundation’s HandWorks, where the skills that she has learned in Levels 1 and 2 of the Skills Development & Education Program are applied into the area of creative business development and management, production, and marketing.

Phase III Housing Opportunity (independent)

The objective of Phase III is to ensure a successful transition to independent living for the participant. As she moves into this Phase, she is able to apply for financial assistance to assist her with rental fees if she needs it. This assistance is provided on a declining time schedule as she begins to provide for her own expenses. The markers indicating that a participant is ready for independent living include:

  • Demonstration of conflict management skills
  • A minimum of one-year sobriety from drugs/alcohol
  • Disengagement from identified unhealthy relationships (ex-boyfriends, old street friends, etc.)
  • A consistent ability to budget and save 10% of her funds
  • Demonstration of an openness to new ideas and a willingness to receive guidance
  • Has begun to build a new group of friends

Skills Development & Education

Freedom to thrive in society involves more than escaping harm. It means access to education. It means economic empowerment. It means the ability to be able to consistently provide for her family. This is the freedom she desperately needs. 

Our Skills Development & Education Program offers each participant at the Learning Center a unique training platform. Here she is able to develop transferable and practical life skills as she grows towards achieving economic stability and freedom to care for herself. These skills are essential for her to achieve a new way of life. For most participants, the Learning Center Day Program is her first introduction into a work or office environment. We know every woman will have many barriers to reintegration into society because of this lack of access to education from the beginning of her life.

Therefore, we cultivate an environment where professionalism is developed from the beginning of her enrollment, which often removes the fear she may have associated with “school” or “work” since it is likely that from an early age she was never given the opportunity to progress or succeed in these settings.

How the Skills Development & Education Program Trains for Freedom

  • She is in a work place that is safe and professional, cultivated to allow her to fail and succeed without negative consequences.
  • She explores opportunities to learn new skills while her financial security is ensured and her recovery and learning needs are assessed.
  • She acquires new skills, confidence in her abilities, and her character is developed.
  • She uses and refines her new skills and develops a desire to learn more.

Three Levels of the Skills Development & Education Program

At each level of training, the participant receives a financial stipend for being enrolled. This stipend promotes a real work experience of “work for pay” and helps her learn to sustain her family every month so that her fear of poverty does not compromise her journey to recovery and freedom.

Level 1

The goal of this training level is to assess the participant’s needs for learning while at the same time giving her the opportunity to engage in and practice new skills. This part of the Day Program at the Learning Center allows her to develop routines which are critical for her sense of stability. During this level small changes in her character and behavior become obvious as she learns how to interact with others while maintaining healthy boundaries and structures. She learns how to apply the standards for achieving professionalism in the work place, such as reliability, fairness, and discretion.

It is a proven part of recovery, that working with her hands is therapeutic especially since she has extremely high levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She is invited and encouraged to participate in sewing classes, jewelry making, and simple note card making which are great platforms for starting the processes of healing and character development. At this Level, the Learning Center Day programing also provides classes in computer literacy, in foreign language acquisition, and literacy/academics.

After a suitable amount of time over which development in her character is seen and evaluated by the staff, the participant is able to progress to the next Level of personal equipping and training for success in society.

Level 2

The goal at this training Level is that the participant will continue to refine the skills of her choice that she acquired in Level 1, whether that be in hand work, development of computer skills, or advancement in her academic abilities. At this Level, she progresses in her development of skills which will open employment options for her future. She is able now to evaluate her personal growth and to begin to channel her talents in a targeted way as she intentionally builds for her future reintegration into society.

Level 3

The goal at this training Level, is for the participant to continue to develop an excellent work ethic, to decide on a career path for her future, and progress towards building her skills to achieve this goal. The participant will have graduated from the Recovery Curriculum as well as from Levels 1 and 2 of the Skills Development & Education curricula. She continues with her education and career development as she reintegrates into society and is offered ongoing emotional and relational help from the staff, especially through the 12 Steps group therapy meetings. If she needs it, she may apply for financial assistance.

At this Level, the participant is encouraged to secure part-time employment outside of the Rose Garden Program, and if she asks for help, the staff will assist her in securing a position. One of her options is to apply for employment within the Rose Garden Program. If she is offered a position, she is required to participate in the 12 Steps group therapy groups and to continue to make progress in her own personal recovery towards freedom. She is also eligible to apply for an internship with the Daughters of Bulgaria Foundation’s “HandWorks”, where the skills that she has learned in Levels 1 and 2 are applied into the area of creative business development and management, production, and marketing.

The Overall Outcome of the Skills Development & Education Program

We desire every participant to be ready for success as she reintegrates back into society. This means that she is economically empowered to live financially free. At this point, she is able to provide for herself and her family without being forced back into a life of slavery. This is why we at the Rose Garden Program are committed to stay and journey with every woman to offer long-term services and to help her overcome the many barriers she faces as she becomes financially independent and a contributing member of society.

Follow Care into New Life

We are a Committed Community of Follow Care

The Follow Care Program is provided to all participants who have graduated from the Phases of the Recovery Programs and the Levels of the Skills Development & Education Program. It provides the follow-up and care that each woman needs to continue to be successful in society. These women are invited to events of the Rose Garden Program, they are provided with one-on-care if desired and are given opportunities to lead classes and possibly to sponsor new participants. The Follow Care Program is ongoing for as long as the participant needs extended support.

Leaders of Tomorrow

Once the participant has graduated from Phases I and II of the Recovery Programs, she may choose to apply to the Rose Garden Program’s Servant-Leadership Program. This opportunity is made available to participants who demonstrate a heart of service and a desire to give back to the program that helped them achieve their goals. This Servant-Leadership Program prepares participants to join the staff of RGP in a paid or unpaid position. It may include facilitating classes of the Recovery Curriculum and the possibility of sponsoring new participants who are at the beginning stages of their own recovery. This Program also prepares participants to become Honorary Servants and is the stepping stone for them to become leaders of tomorrow for the RGP by giving them a voice and the ability to help those women who are still sexually exploited /trafficked.

Stopping the Cycle of Abuse

The Rose Garden Program offers services not only to sexually exploited / trafficked women, but also provides space for their children. While services are not directly given to these children, their mothers are able to bring them into the Learning Center Day Program facilities and to receive support and guidance. By supporting these women in their parenting abilities, the Rose Garden Program is equipping them to stop the cycle of abuse in the lives of their children and to implement the skills they are learning to help their children also recover from the affects of trauma experienced by their mothers.

Restoring & Recreating

We can only recreate what we have been shown and taught.

The heart of what we do at the Rose Garden Program as we journey with each broken and hurting woman is to see her restored and enabled to recreate her new life (new skills, beliefs and behaviors) in the lives of her children. Through her journey of recovery each woman has been given the tools to live life differently from what her past experiences have taught her. For generational change and to stop the cycle of enslavement, she must recreate all that she has learned into her child’s life for there to begin a new positive generational cycle in which sexual enslavement is not the norm. This is the way she actually becomes a generation changer.

At the Rose Garden Program, we support each woman’s ability to parent knowing that there are many tools of parenting that she has never been shown or taught. We do this through classes on parenting skills, but also through demonstration. We share with her the tools she will need through showing them (the mother and her children) patience, kindness, and mercy within an environment where love, respect and appreciation for all of life is cultivated. These beliefs and behaviors are illustrated through our core values, our conduct, our words, our faith, our love and our ability to show grace. This environment and modeling gives the participant a personal experience of these values and behaviors in action, which she can then implement in her own life. It also demonstrates to her what a committed community and family look like, helping her to model and reflect this for her own children.

The hope we hold for every woman is that by participating in the Rose Garden Program, she will come to know her value and purpose in life. She will be able to parent in a way that breaks the cycle of generational enslavement, and she will have the ability and desire to recreate what she has learned in others.

The Rose Garden Program has adopted the SA Foundation (Servants Anonymous) Canada’s Program Model. The SA Foundation is a Christian-based program widely recognized as one of the few programs worldwide meeting the specific long-term recovery and reintegration needs of sexually exploited/trafficked youth, women and their children. The SA Foundation’s Program Model has been replicated in cities and countries worldwide and is both practical and culturally transferrable.

For more information on the SA Foundation and to see where they work, visit www.safoundation.com.