‘I think the trip is going to be very emotional’

(L-r) Cosham Baptist Church members Katie Clements, Tracey Ansell, Wendy Mills and Vanessa Ford. (110185-2)
(L-r) Cosham Baptist Church members Katie Clements, Tracey Ansell, Wendy Mills and Vanessa Ford. (110185-2)

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After a trip to southern India, Tracey Ansell knew she had to do something to transform the lives of former prostitutes.

So the 42-year-old has rounded up a team of ladies from Cosham Baptist Church who will join her as she helps lead a jewellery-making workshop for women who have experienced life in the sex trade.

The group of four will be joined by expert jewellery-maker Norma Murrain, of The Silver Fish Company, on the eight-day trip to Peddapuram on February 8.

The team will teach a class of 15 underprivileged women how to make their own jewellery and give them advice on how they could sell their creations.

They will also give the women basic tips on setting up their own business and micro loans.

Tracey and 18 members of the church congregation previously visited the country in September when they helped set up a holiday club for 700 orphans.

They also gave aid to former prostitutes who had worked in Tenali’s red-light district.

The Everyone Matters church team blessed and dished up food to scores of former prostitutes, many of whom had already been given a new lease of life making clothes for Western countries.

The group of 18 baptists also visited a camp where up to 320 people were suffering from the effects of leprosy.

Tracey, who is a minister in training at Cosham Baptist Church, said: ‘When I came back I really felt that more needed to be done to transform the lives of women who had been subjected to prostitution.’

‘The purpose of our visit is to make them feel and become independent.

‘We want them to have a new lease of life and something to live for.’

Tracey and her team will also hold two pamper evenings during their stay. They will wash the women’s feet, hands and hair and put on face-masks.

‘It’s all about making them feel special and confident,’ Tracey explained.

‘So many of these women have gone through awful experiences and we want them to overcome the memories that are attached to them.’

Members of the church, in Havant Road, have dug deep and helped to raise £5,000 towards the cost of the trip.

A winter ball and a card sale contributed to the total.

Tracey added: ‘I think the trip is going to be really emotional.

‘We’ll hear testimonies from people about their lives and that’s going to be heart-breaking.

‘Really, we just want to make a difference.’