Victoria Pujdak, Staff Writer
Burdened at the Passion Conference with the mission to help victims of the slave trade, Natalie Schrader returned to North Greenville University in 2012 to establish the Tikvah International Club.
The word “Tikvah” in Hebrew means “hope”. One goal of Tikvah International is to give hope to people who are trapped in physical and spiritual bondage. The club believes strongly in the power of prayer and often prays for God’s deliverance of the enslaved as well as for their oppressors.
Another goal of the club is to provide proper education about the human slave trade to students. Tikvah often shows documentaries and procures special speakers to further enlighten students’ understandings on slavery.
Tikvah hopes if students are properly educated, they will be able to effectively raise awareness about trafficking in their own communities.
Tikvah International believes that believers should fight for justice especially for those who cannot defend themselves.
“I got involved because God calls us to a life of justice, and I wasn’t doing enough.” said club member Joey Metzler.
Club overseer Amanda Eron, an English professor at NGU, said “It’s our responsibility as believers to be a voice for the voiceless, to fight for the oppressed.”
Through the work of abolitionists in the 18th and 19th centuries, slavery has become illegal in most parts of the world. However, the issue of modern slavery is more prevalent than ever, with over 35.8 million people enslaved worldwide, according to BBC News reports.
The U.S. Department of State defines modern slavery as any individual who uses another individual for involuntary service. Such services include forced labor, sexual exploitation, bonded labor and child exploitation.
In 2012, approximately 27 million people were enslaved worldwide. By 2015 over 35.8 million have been reported to be involved in some form of slavery.
Schrader asks the question “Are trafficker’s getting smarter or is no one getting involved?”
How does slavery effect a North Greenville student? “Probably everything your wearing was made by a slave.” says Schrader.
Tikvah International club is open to all students of NGU. The club meets the first and third Friday of every month in Neeves 3 from 10-10:50 a.m. Membership is not required, but is strongly encouraged.
Students interested in joining should contact Natalie Schrader or Amanda Eron to receive a membership application. On April 2, Tikvah International will be hosting a campus wide conference night from 7-9 p.m. in the Hayes Ministry Center.