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Who we are

We are part of the Sisters Adoratrices

A global humanitarian congregation that has been caring for women in prostitution and women who have experienced sexual exploitation for over 160 years.

An essential part of the Sisters’ mission is to provide the compassionate support that helps women flourish, freely and unconditionally, so that they can rebuild confidence in themselves and trust in others.

The Sisters also promote women’s rights, advocating for a more just society in which women are treated with humanity, dignity and respect.

Locations

Rahab is one of 131 projects the Sisters have across 25 countries. Together we support more than 11,500 women each year.

11870

Women supported (2019)

131

Social projects

25

Countries

950

Sisters

627

Volunteers

664

Lay group

9

Hostels

38

Educational centres

Map of the world showing the countries where the Sisters Adoratrices are based

— Scroll the Map to see all locations —

1. Spain (1859), 2. Italy (1899), 3. Argentina (1910), 4. Chile (1919), 5. Bolivia (1926), 6. Venezuela (1927), 7. Japan (1928), 8. Colombia (1929), 9. Morocco (1929), 10. Portugal (1936), 11. India (1947), 12. England (1959), 13. France (1967), 14. Dominican Republic (1986), 15. Ecuador (1989), 16. Peru (1998), 17. Cambodia (2004), 18. Brazil (2006), 19. Cuba (2007), 20. Togo (2008), 21. Cape Verde (2009), 22. Philippines (2010), 23. Nepal (2013), 24. Haiti (2016), 25. Vietnam (2017)

We support and welcome everyone

Our inspiration and values are derived from the Christian-faith-based mission of the Sisters Adoratrices. These values are shared and enriched by many people of other faiths, and of no religious faith, that work and partner with us.

We embrace this diversity, and are committed to inclusiveness and respect of all people no matter what their circumstances, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion and belief, disability or age.

Our founder

Saint Maria Micaela

1809-1865

The Congregation of Adoratrices was set up in 1856 in Madrid, Spain by Maria Micaela, Viscountess of Jorbalan.

Micaela was born in 1809 into the Spanish aristocracy with the fearless temperament of her father and the compassionate heart of her mother.

As a noblewoman, much of Micaela’s time was spent supporting charities and attending social events. During one of Micaela’s charitable visits to Saint John of God Hospital, she met a young woman who had been deceived by her husband and forced into prostitution.

This encounter deeply challenged Micaela and led her to question her comfortable and privileged life. She went through periods of struggle that few understood or accepted – even her family – and eventually choose to leave her wealth, title and position to dedicate herself to living with and caring for the women.

In 1845, Micaela opened her first home. Uncovering a great need, she worked tirelessly and courageously to open seven safe homes amidst fierce opposition from society.

In 1856 she founded the Congregation of the Sisters Adoratrices to bring stability and a strong foundation to the work she had started. She died a Martyr of Charity, while taking care of the women and her Sisters during a cholera epidemic in 1865.

Micaela was a passionate, radical woman who endured many difficulties in her calling. She drew courage and strength from her deep Christian faith, and over 160 years later, her pedagogy of love – acceptance, understanding, respect, forgiveness, patience and mercy – continues to inspire people all over the world to continue the work she began so many years ago.

St Maria Micaela Feast day: 25 August

Resting place: Chapel of St Maria Micaela, Valencia, Spain

Canonisation: 4 March 1934 by Pope Pius XI

Portrait of St Maria Michela's father, Don Miguel Desmaisieres Flores and Portrait of St Maria Michela's mother, Dona Bernarda Lopez de Discastillo y Olmeda

Maria Micaela’s parents. Don Miguel Desmaisières Flores, Brigadier General of the Army of the King of Spain and Dóna Bernarda López de Discastillo y Olmeda, daughter of the Marquis of los Llanos de Alguazas and Countess of Vega del Pozo.

Portrait of St Maria Micaela c. 1846 held by the Marquis of Casa Valdes

Portrait of Maria Micaela c. 1846 held by the Marquis of Casa Valdes and portrait of St Maria Micaela painted in 1865, a month before her death by order of Queen Isabel II.

Our name 'Rahab'

Hebrew: רחב

Pronunciation: rah’hav

Rahab was a woman in the Bible who worked in prostitution and identified her house by a scarlet cord tied in the window. In the Israelites’ battle to occupy the Promised Land, Rahab offers her home as a place of safety to Joshua’s spies. In return the spies promise to save her and her family when the city walls fall. (Book of Joshua, chapter 2)

What inspires us about Rahab’s story is her courage and strength in an extreme and difficult situation. And it’s the scarlet cord that we choose as our reminder that faith – risky, never easy, and often found in unlikely places – has the potential for opening doors to new possibilities.

What we have achieved so far

Since Rahab was established in 2009, we’ve helped more than 1500 women from more than 50 countries.

1582

Women helped

102

Volunteers

108080

Volunteering hours

Photo of four of the Sisters standing together outdoors
2005
2005

A beginning

The Sisters reflect on how to establish the Congregation’s mission in London.
Two women walking through Holland Park
2007
2007

Outreach

Outreach to women in our local area in Kensington and Chelsea begins.
Four of the Rahab volunteers who helped with the pilot programme
2008
2008

Pilot programme

A pilot programme is set up and we are joined by a dedicated group of volunteers who are called to support the mission.
2009
2009

A new chapter

Rahab is formally registered as a charity.
A woman and councillor in soft focus talking at Rahab Sanctuary
2011
2011

The Rahab Sanctuary

The Rahab Sanctuary is opened to welcome the women and to provide a base for the work.
Rahab Team members Rosslyn Okumu and Bex Keer talking with partners
2013
2013

Partnerships

EU funding is acquired and partnerships with the Met Police and other organisations established.
Tealights and a large candle in a wicker basket
2016
2016

Micaela's Home

Micaela's Home for women is opened with funding from the Big Lottery.
Sister Doly Mathew collecting the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s Mayor’s Award
2017
2017

Recognition

Rahab receives Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s Mayor’s Award in recognition of the outstanding contribution made in the community caring for women involved in prostitution.
2019
2019

Anniversary

Rahab celebrates its tenth anniversary.

Our leadership team

Headshot of Father Matthew Blake

Father Matthew Blake OCD

Chair of Trustees
Headshot of Time Drake

Tim Drake

Trustee
Headshot of Kevin Hyland OBE

Kevin Hyland OBE

Trustee
Headshot of Sister Doly Matthew

Sister Doly Mathew

Trustee
Headshot of Sister Antonia Lopez

Sister Antonia Lopez

Trustee
Headshot of Antony Northrop

Antony Northrop

Trustee
Headshot of Rosslyn Okumu

Rosslyn Okumu

Manager
Headshot of Bex Keer

Bex Keer

Community Initiatives / ISVA
Headshot of Julie Etchingham

Julie Etchingham

Rahab Ambassador

Rahab is an inspiring charity that combines intelligence and humanity with productive action. It operates at a strategic, societal level, as well as on the frontline helping women who could be our sisters or daughters.


Tim Drake

Trustee


Our response to COVID-19

During the coronavirus crisis our priority is to continue to support the women while making sure that we all stay safe and protected during what are difficult and challenging times for so many people.

We are taking on new referrals and in regular contact with the women to address their concerns and evolving needs as the situation progresses. We are also working with colleagues to improve the broader response and access to support.

Given the health risks we are presently unable to offer face to face meetings, but will return to a full service when the emergency level is lifted. You can meanwhile contact us in the usual way and we will do our best to help.


Please visit GOV.UK for advice and guidance about Coronavirus.