Artisan Spotlight: Jeanne
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Prior to coming to DuHope, Jeanne was living as a sex worker. She was introduced to that kind of life after the birth of one of her children because the father of the child was not supporting her. Life was really hard; she was moving from one house to another and the people she was staying with encouraged her to work to be a sex worker. She realized they had money and she did not. Then, she was invited by some women who were familiar with DuHope to come and learn about it.
Drinking made her feel inadequate as a mother. She got in fights and did other bad things that she regretted later. One day she got drunk and got into a huge fight. Later she did not remember it and her sister told her about it the next morning. From that day on, she made the decision to stop drinking. It has been 4 months now since she drank any alcohol.
As a sex worker, she was lonely and hurt from how men and other people treated her. Because of this, she began to distrust most people, especially men. Some of the men refused to pay her or would beat her. For 14 years, she swore off men completely until she met the father of her last born. He changed her mind because he was different from the other men she had met before.
Coming to DuHope has helped her to open up and talk about her own struggles which has led to her healing journey. She is more content than before; she feels peaceful, calm, and very happy about the life she has now. She used to not smile very often but now she's happier and has learned how to live peacefully with everyone, especially the other artisans who she spends more time with during the week.
DuHope has also taught her to save for emergencies and she had never done anything like that before in her life. Through DuHope's Bible Study, she developed a culture of praying and reading her Bible regularly and sometimes she even finds herself praying in the bus on the way to work because she had forgotten to pray in the morning before she left.
She has also matured. She knows how to make good, healthy decisions whenever she goes through tough seasons. She used to report her friends who were late every day, but she now understands they are adults, and they also know the rules and regulations.
She has learned to be a better mother to her 3 children. (The eldest is 17.) Before coming to DuHope, when she was always drunk, she never had time for them at all. Now she spends more time with the youngest and she talks to the older ones over the phone. She has taught them about God and discipline and provides for their needs including school fees.
Written by Ange Masengesho, DuHope Social Worker