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Rahabs Rope benefits victimized women half a world away
Gainesville charity sells necklaces and silk purses made by women in India
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Anathuli, one of the women helped by Rahab's Rope, sews a jewelry pouch at the women's rescue center in Bangalore, India.

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Vicki Moore, founder of Rahab's Rope, talks about the effect she thinks the ministry has had.
Local video: Vicki Moore, founder of Rahab's Rope, talks about how the nonprofit ministry started.

For several years, Vicki Moore had been traveling to India to help some friends who had moved there as missionaries.

Then, in January 2004, while browsing the Internet at home, the lifelong Hall County resident ran across a news story about women in India.

"I read it and found out some things about how the women are treated there, that every day in India, 200 women and children are sold, kidnapped or forced into prostitution," Moore said. "Indian women have one of the highest suicide rates in the world."

She walked away from the story with "a broken heart." Unable to shake loose what she had learned, she decided to alter plans for an already scheduled trip to India in May that year.

The seeds were planted for what would become Rahab's Rope, a nonprofit Christian ministry designed to help take care of, counsel and provide training in sewing and jewelry making for victimized women.

Through the program, based in Bangalore, the women learn to make items that are sent to the United States and sold at the Rahab's Rope store in Gainesville, with all the profits returning to the ministry.

The ministry gets half its funding from store sales and half from donations, Moore said.

The shop at 1062 Thompson Bridge Road carries a wide variety of gift items, including jewelry, clothing, shoes, pottery and home décor.

Rahab's Rope took root as an idea in the fall of 2004 when the organization found a building in Bangalore, India.

"We found several buildings that would work, but no one would rent them to us because they didn't want these women on their property," Moore said.

The organization found a three-story apartment building in January 2005 and has been at that location since.

A group, including Moore and husband David, are planning a Dec. 26-Jan. 5 trip back to India.

It will be a first-time experience for Kelley Ingle of Gainesville.

This summer, she read a book about a woman who "took on the epidemic of AIDS in Africa," she said. "What a blessing it was and at that time, I felt like God was telling me that I needed to do something."

She never thought she would be making such a trip, as she is the mother of small children.

"I truly feel God's in it and this is what I'm supposed to be doing," Ingle said.

Ingle and Moore will be in India to take part in Rahab's Rope's Christmas celebration, which has taken place each year since its founding; the first celebration took place in December 2004.

"Our staff and the other women go out to the streets and invite all the women to (the event) to learn more about Rahab's Rope and how that we're there to help them," Moore said.

The number of women attending the event has grown to 920 this past December from 100 the first year.

The ministry takes its name from a story from the book of Joshua in the Bible.

Rahab was a prostitute who helped two Hebrew spies escape Jericho on the condition that when the city fell, she and her family would be rescued. The spies agreed and she helped them scale down a building using a rope.

When Joshua conquered Jericho, Rahab's family was spared. Also, in Matthew, Rahab is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus as one of his ancestors.

Rahab's Rope provides spiritual counseling, devotions and Bible studies for the women. Workers don't require the women to become Christians.

"We're there to be the light of Jesus, to show them his love and to help them in the way that Jesus ministered to people every day," Moore said.

Vocational training lasts three to six months.

"During that time, we provide everything for them - the funds for their transportation to get there, their meals, the materials," Moore said. "Once the classes are over, some girls have been able to go out and get jobs. Some fall through the cracks."

The organization also employs women to help with sewing and jewelry making. In addition to the Thompson Bridge store, Rahab's Rope items are on sale in about 25 stores in 15 states, she said.

"The bigger I can make my market here, the more women we can employ," Moore said.

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