Economic Objective

The first objective in the DuHope program model is economic…money. The women DuHope is reaching are not selling sex so they can live in big houses and drive big cars; they are doing it to feed their children. They are selling their bodies for less than $0.50 per client.

In March, we will be launching our next cohort of 20 women. When they first come to us, their priority is how to replace their income they are receiving from the street. The women make somewhere between $20 and $100 on a really good month. But those months are rare. They are not able to make any plans for tomorrow; their focus is: How do I feed my kids today?

We begin by teaching them some very basic skills in how to make bracelets. Many of them have never been to school and lack some very basic skills they never received in primary school. They learn how to hold scissors and cut elastic string. They begin to learn basic counting by counting the number of beads they should put on each bracelet. During this first phase, they are learning how to show up to work and produce something. It might not be the best quality product, but they are learning they can do something other than sex work and get paid for it.


At DuHope, they get a safe working environment and learn “how to work.” Many have never had formal jobs to learn how to show up on time and complete a task that they have been given. Over time, we increase our expectations of learning how to call in if they are going to be late and treating others with respect. As they start getting paid per piece of jewelry produced, we teach them some basic planning tools for budgeting and savings. Learning how to budget and plan for their children’s school fees is often their first priority and is a big dignity-producing goal.


As they start getting their feet underneath them through vocational training, we start adding education through literacy and numeracy training. Our goal is for them to be able to read and write at a 6th-grade reading level in their mother language of Kinyarwanda.

Although the women at DuHope are not pimped or managed as sex workers, they find themselves victims of economic abuse. Economic abuse refers to a form of control and manipulation within a relationship or household that involves controlling someone's access to financial resources or exploiting their economic dependence. This type of abuse is not solely about physical or emotional harm but centers around financial control as a means of asserting power and control over the victim.

In conclusion, the DuHope program stands as a beacon of hope and empowerment for women who have been forced into desperate circumstances due to economic vulnerability. These women, driven by the primal instinct to provide for their children, find themselves caught in a cycle of selling their bodies for meager sums. DuHope recognizes the urgency of breaking this cycle and strives to restore dignity and self-sufficiency to these resilient individuals.


DuHope is not just a program; it is a transformative journey that empowers women to rise above economic exploitation, enabling them to rewrite the narratives of their lives and build a future filled with hope, dignity, and self-determination.