Norfolk Christian charity welcome first resident
The Norwich based Christian charity, Hope and Song to Freedom, has welcomed the first resident to its new shelter for women released from a Peruvian prison.
Liz Lake, from Norwich, is the co-founder of Hope and Song to Freedom, a Christian charity, which offers hope and care to women in a Peruvian prison.
For a long time it has been the dream of Liz and her fellow co-founder, Miriam Breña Torres, from Lima, to have somewhere to shelter women upon their release from Santa Monica maximum security prison in Chorillos, Peru.
The charity was thrilled when, this time last year, building work was completed on the flat above Miriam's, which they have called The Ark. Since then Miriam and Liz have been praying that it would be a place of refuge and provision for those who need it, but for a long time nobody was being released.
That changed on Thursday 17th May, when one of the ladies in the fellowship group of the prison, Debora, was told at her hearing that she was innocent, having been in prison for over 3 years on false charges of terrorism, and was being released the next day.
Miriam was able to collect her and take her straight to what will be her new home for the immediate future until she can build a new life for herself and her family.
"At last our dream has come true and we are seeing reality unfold before our eyes" says Miriam, who was released from the same prison in 2001.
"I knew back then I had to make a difference to people in the future, as when you are released you literally have nothing and don't know where to begin. Life can seem so overwhelming. First came my friend Liz, then Hope and Song to Freedom, God is so good."
At present Debora's husband is still in prison and her 3 children are being looked after by their grandmother a long way away in the jungle.
This is a busy time as there are lots of legal papers which need to be acquired from various authorities but for now Debora is enjoying her freedom from being in a small cell with another person, in a noisy environment with poor nourishment.
You can find out more about Hope and Song to Freedom at the Celebrate Norfolk event in June where they will have a stand.
In the photo: Miriam (left) with Debora (on the right) minutes after leaving prison