Board Member Highlight: Nancy & David Hurst

Nancy's Perspective:

On our recent trip to work with DuHope, David and I witnessed that it takes countless human-hours to successfully implement and carry out a lasting and sustainable social enterprise program. Especially one that is Christ centered, trauma informed and nurtures the economic, social, physical, and spiritual development of not only the women served, but also the staff who do the day-to-day work. Having visited in 2022, I had some idea of what to expect to see during the visit; the thousand rolling hills of Rwanda, the vibrant colors of the lush plant life and the bright clothing worn by the people; the noise and bustle of a busy city. But my expectations were exceeded by the warm welcome extended by the staff and artisans of DuHope.

Late January to early February was an exciting time with a myriad of things happening at once, all gearing up for adding a new cohort in March. Good Foundations International was conducting skills training with the current artisans, the Hope Shop had moved to a new location to allow room for expanded workshop space, and a business partnership with a company called Deriv to get the facility ready for twenty new women was cemented. Schedules and trainers for the new cohort were being finalized, assessment documents were completed, and interviews for a new social worker were being conducted. The excitement in the air was evident as the staff and artisans anticipated meeting new participants and watching them grow and transform.

As a board member of Belay Global, I have worked with the DuHope Program Committee and conducted leadership training and mentoring with staff members. It was a joy to return to Kigali and interact with the team members face to face instead of through Zoom. We worked through the basics of Leading at the Speed of Trust including the 13 behaviors that increase trust. The staff discussed and ranked the behaviors from those they do best to those that need the most work. The four men employees and I began a series of leadership classes that started with Crucial Conversations. They participated fully and showed their commitment to lead from whatever position they hold.

Having worship time with the artisans, singing praises to God, and participating in Bible study with them was the highlight of the trip. It was evident by their comments, skill in reading Bible passages, and their joyful singing how much they have grown spiritually in the past eighteen months. Most of them were willing to read aloud, make comments in response to questions and lead the group in prayer. My heart overflowed.

The current artisans are all looking forward to working as mentors with the new cohort and have even started taking more care with their dress and appearance. One of the staff members noticed this and asked the artisans why they were dressing up lately. They responded that they needed to practice looking and acting like leaders! They are all leaders in my book. Their children are healthy and thriving at school. They are increasing their skills daily and serving as consultants to the staff. They are participating in getting the facility ready for the new participants and keeping it clean and organized while working together as a cohesive group. It’s beautiful to witness.

David’s Perspective:

Visiting Kigali and the surrounding villages and seeing the daily challenges of life in a developing country reinforces our commitment to supporting the DuHope effort.  With approximately 70% of Rwandans engaged in agriculture, and with most working with hand tools in the field, education remains very important for those wanting to find other work.  The DuHope program includes nurturing the artisans physically, emotionally, and spiritually while assisting them with improving their literacy skills. This helps them to develop the work skills needed to have their own small businesses or to secure other meaningful jobs. The current cohort is also aiding the staff as they expand the program to include new participants. I feel fortunate to have a small part in this effort.

One big takeaway from this trip was the assurance that Jamie is an incredibly effective leader. Her business acumen, ability to communicate and accomplish goals, and her talent for building an effective network of resources all make this effort work. We are proud to be a part of her team and hope that you are too. Your support and prayers for DuHope are what makes empowering the women of Kigali who want to leave survival sex work possible. Thank you for your continued support and we highly recommend a trip to Rwanda to see the work firsthand!