Magdalene House

I had the pleasure of spending some time with the women at the Magdalene House in Nashville, TN, a two-year residential community for women with a history of prostitution and drug addiction. The women are some of the most incredibly strong people I have ever listened to as they told their stories and the paths that they took to find solace in their recovery. These are their stories.

My name is Penny. I’ve been homeless since 1995. I got into some abusive relationships, got into drugs and alcohol, mostly alcohol. I ended up living here and there and yonder the best I could. Then I went into treatment, and luckily I got accepted to the program here.

I been drinking since I was maybe 11. You see, my mom and daddy owned beer joints when I was a child, and they took me to beer joints. I remember drinking every now and then but I wasn’t an alcoholic then. When the bar closed and they were cleaning up they’d say “You want a beer?” and we’d say “Yeah,” we just thought we were big.

When I was [prostituting], I had my regulars that would pick me up. I didn’t walk the streets all that much. I got a few women into prostitution, like I’d get paid to get them tricks. It was just a hard life. Chaos. Never know if you’re going to turn a corner and get shot or robbed, anything.

I’m glad it’s behind me, but they say “Never forget where you come from because you can always end up back there.” We think about that last miserable moment and that keeps us from wanting to go back out there.

When I first got [to the Magdalene House] it was like I was part of a family. We try to stick together and help one another.


Heroin Addiction in Russia

This post was submitted by photographer Brendan Hoffman

Russia has one of the fastest-growing rates of HIV infection in the world. The foremost cause is the widespread use of heroin and the drug’s associated problems of shared needles and trading sex for drugs.

Addiction is more often approached as a crime than a disease to be treated. Making matters worse, methadone maintenance treatment – a well-reputed substitution therapy for opiate addiction around the world – is illegal in Russia. As a result, organizations that seek to treat heroin addicts must find creative ways to be effective. Funding for this work is limited, and in many parts of the country, authorities are not supportive of harm reduction approaches such as needle exchange programs or distributing condoms to sex workers.


a way to bite back

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease that affects more people now than ever before, hitting nearly half a billion people every year. Within that number, at least a million die, and 90% of those deaths are children in Africa. Compassion International is taking steps to fight back—or rather “Bite Back” against the disease.

The campaign Bite Back was originally intended to be an short-term project of Compassion International. Yet since it’s launch, it has gone incredibly viral without much of a marketing push.

“It’s taken on a life of its own,” says brand strategist Craig Johnson of Matchstic. “Just the word kind of continued to spread—people getting on the website—either buying t-shirts or making donations for the [mosquito] nets.”

New NEED Videos | Peace Rehabilitation Center

Shanta Sapkota with girls at a skills training center. photo | Kyra Gibson

Formerly trafficked and at-risk girls rediscover family life and freedom at PRC in Nepal. PRC founder Shanta Sapkota discusses

• providing care
• assisting those with HIV
• skills training
• border rescue and patrol
and gives a tour of the main PRC home and garden.

View the videos at needmagazine.com or YouTube and Current

NEED featured on TIME.com

Time.com has featured a photo essay version of "Resounding Success" from the GENEROSITY department of Issue 5.

>> view the photo story