Meet the Artisan: Redempta

by Kenzie Keck, writer for DuHope

Have you ever seen a 14-year-old take on full responsibility of a newborn? That is exactly what Redempta did. Before she got pregnant, she lived with her grandma but she found herself abruptly on her own. Looking for a quick income, she decided to go to the streets to look for money. She learned prostitution was a way she could. She needed to work to pay rent, buy food for herself, for her baby and clothes for the both of them.

After a couple of years, she would move in with a boyfriend and they would have a child together. He used to help her with her son and support her. She didn’t know how to read or write so she would hand him the money for him to put into the bank. Later on she found out it never reached the bank, that he had been stealing it all along. She stopped prostitution, but with a difficult time at home, she would go out and drink with her friends spending all that she would make.

When her boys were older, she would learn about DuHope through neighbors. They told her that there were foreigners who came here looking for people to help. At first, Redempta thought they would just give her money and pay tuition for school… but they would do more than that.

On the day she reached out to DuHope, her partner got into an accident. She remembers a friend of hers saying “being a strong woman requires effort.” This is when the real change happened. Redempta had to stand up for her family and do something, keeping an eye open for possibilities of work. Kirabo had been asked to help find someone to wash clothes; she took that on as a job before and after her working time at DuHope. Next she asked to mop and clean DuHope premises. She is doing the best she can to sustain her family with whatever opportunity that comes her way.

Redempta remembers when they were beginning to work there, they put the women into two different groups- one that could read and write, and one group that couldn’t. As of now, they can’t separate any of the women because they all now know how to read and write.

In addition to reading and writing, Redempta also learned the value of money. In one of their classes for woman, DuHope taught her budgeting and how to take care of bills. She learned how to make which bills a priority and to save instead of spending it on something unnecessary. The longer she kept up with it, the more she saw how budgeting was worth it. She now has a savings so when unexpected bills arise or an emergency happens, she doesn’t have to worry.

What’s her motivation, her driving factor? Her children. She wants them to finish school, not suffer the problems of illiteracy, and to never experience the trauma of  prostitution that she went through. If you were to ask Redempta now about her journey, she will tell you she’s not where she wants to be, but she’s continually coming closer and closer to her goal and she’s extremely happy. She is extremely thankful for this group and would not be here now if it weren’t for the impact DuHope has made.