24 December 2020


By Frits Rouvoet on Dec 23, 2020 07:28 pm

No one knew she was pregnant. We were the first to know. Even her own family didn’t know… Sound familiar? This is not the beginning of the Nativity story, but the beginning of the story of one of our girls, who came in a few weeks ago. She had just done a pregnancy test and it came back positive. We were completely kept up to date. She didn’t want to know the gender of the baby herself, but one of our team members knew because they came along to the ultrasound.


So we organised a ‘Gender Reveal Party’ that she wanted. Everyone had to wear the colour of the gender they thought the baby would be. The mother herself thought it would be a girl, but when blue confetti fell out of the popped balloon, she laughed: ‘I am so happy…’ Her boyfriend, who was also present, was hoping for a boy, so he for sure was very happy. The two newbies were glowing. We were able to pray for them, for the new life that was in front of her. It was all very emotional, everyone had tears in their eyes. You could see the parents growing a realization of the new life that was growing inside of her. Tender, small, loved life. It was a beautiful afternoon!

This December obviously looks different than we imagined. Maybe you’re wondering: How does this lockdown affect the women at the Red Light? Obviously, we are all hit by Covid and the lockdown. It just looks different for these women. This is because of a few things. First of all, it wasn’t your dream job to begin with. You are far away from your family and you don’t know if you can travel back. You are not able to send money to your home country, because you cannot send the income supplement you are receiving to your home country. This income supplement isn’t enough for their incredibly high rents, either. They are happy that the government is doing something (this is very different in their own country), but there is still a lot of insecurity and pain. The ‘customers’ that came when the Red Light was still open were willing to pay more, but in exchange they would ask the weirdest things. The women felt unsafe. Moreover, now they have more time to themselves, causing everything to hit them all of a sudden. We have had a few conversations that were very deep and open.

What are we doing?

We didn’t want to flood the ladies, but we regularly showed out faces for as long as this was allowed. Handing out Christmas presents and ‘pepernoten’, so that they know: we are here for you. You can come to us with anything. We also regularly text them. Sweet messages. Explaining new statements from the government (many women don’t speak Dutch). You can see the girls blossom with us. Here you are among people who don’t judge you, don’t abuse you, where you can be yourself. At the moment, a few social workers and a legal expert are helping the women who wish to start a different life. Many women are still in the initial phase. We look at: what is your situation and what is needed. How can we arrange a good home and a job for you. A legal expert helps the women with this, because they are often bound by contracts of which they didn’t even know what they were
signing. But there are also around 50 women that are already fully in this trajectory. We help them write resumes, apply for jobs and managing financials. We have deals with several large employers, where they can start working. Unfortunately, Covid isn’t helping, many people are stuck at home. Still, we have hope that the girls can start a new job soon. And until that happens, we are retraining and helping them. From a hairdressers course and interior design, to cleaning work. Apart from this, we stand beside the women. Every day we have deep conversations with the girls, when they swing by the office. God is doing something extraordinary at the Red Light District and we
are honoured to be a part of it.

Even more Christmas presents…
The past few weeks we have had Covid-proof parties at the Red Light. Sinterklaas dropped by with loads of candies and on Thursday evening you could hear the trolleys with Christmas presents from miles away. All ladies received a large Umbra photo frame and the artist Alice from Tindal Art
donated ceramic pieces for in the Christmas tree. You hope to celebrate Christmas with your family. Many women don’t have family or their family is
(often) in Eastern-Europe. Moreover, their own family often isn’t aware of their work. ‘You guys are my family’, said one of the girls lately. And what does family do? Gamenight! We also had a digital Christmas party. On Zoom we laughed, sang, told stories and played bingo fanatical (you could win prizes). It was special to still be able to celebrate Christmas like this. One of the women wrote: Words cannot describe how much this means to us. Thank you so much for organizing this, Bright Fame!’

My Christmas present!
What is my Christmas present? There was a girl who I’ve known for eight years. She would often refuse to have conversations with us, because she couldn’t handle the confrontation. The past four months I didn’t hear anything from her. I have to confess I sometimes thought: Is she still alive? Yesterday, she sent me a message. She asked: Frits, can I come by the office this week? Tears came in my eye. I was so unbelievably grateful. So happy that she was alive and reached out. An enormous gift.
Yes, that is my Christmas present.


On behalf of the entire Bright Fame team we wish you an incredibly warm and loving Christmas!

P.S. Will you also stand shoulder to shoulder with the women at the Red Light? Whether it is Christmas, or not, you can donate via https://brightfame.nl/en/join-us/donate/
Prayer is also very much appreciated!

Donations can be transferred to:

Will you pray and carry with us?
Bright Fame is an ANBI acknowledge foundation.

Stichting Bright Fame, NL53 INGB 0004 1039 12
Postbus 12274  1100 AG Amsterdam
+31 6 54985459  +31 20 2602118

Jacqueline en Frits Rouvoet

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