#SaveMirabel: Our appreciation

Joy is one of the counsellors at the centre. [Logor Olumuyiwa Adeyemi/Al Jazeera]

I feel like I can call you all friends with the outpouring of support, encouragement and donations for Mirabel Centre in the past week. When I started this journey 10 years ago, it was a small group of people and the Justice for All Programme at DFID that made it possible for us to open the Mirabel Centre two years ago on July 1, 2013. When we opened, the Mirabel Centre was the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Nigeria and the second in West Africa.

And now to keep the Centre open, so many of you tweeted, shared, called, donated to make sure the Centre remains open. It was unbelievable, thank you for being there when we needed you the most. I can’t believe this surge of support only began exactly a week ago. This week has reenergized myself and the staff of the Centre and given us the hope we needed to keep going. As mentioned in the AlJazeera article that started it all, DFID funding ends in December and as you all know our work must continue no matter what. The survivors need us now more than ever, last month our Centre served 64 clients, the highest number since we opened. We can’t stop now.

The Mirabel Centre is more than an office; it’s a safe and welcoming space that provides holistic and quality services and support to survivors of sexual assault in a compassionate and caring manner. We pride ourselves on the work we have done to make sure the survivors leave our offices knowing they are not alone and that they still have many reasons to smile. We work not only with the survivors but also with their families and we support them every step of the way. We go beyond providing testing and medical treatment, the Centre provides counselling, help in reporting to the police, information on the legal system, refunds of clients transportation costs, feeding during visits, and referrals to other agencies for help not provided at the Centre.

Joy is one of the counsellors at the centre. [Logor Olumuyiwa Adeyemi/Al Jazeera]

In past week, thanks to you, we have raised over $10,000 dollars on GoFundMe, N189,000 through our bank account, Anakle Media donated $1000 and Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President donated $5000. Thank you doesn’t seem enough. Please know that on behalf of the girls, boys and women and men we work with, your generosity is appreciated. This means we can serve another 250 clients with at least testing and medical treatment. We can welcome them to our Centre not turn anyone away. YOU made that happen.

And we need you all now more than ever. We need sustained support so we can continue to serve our clients and double up on our prevention efforts. To keep going, we need more funds and supporters. Become a Friend of Mirabel and help us raise funds in your places of worships, schools, offices, groups, organizations and communities. For more information, call Joy at 08176275732 or email sarc@pjnigeria.org