Meet the Artisan: Victoria
Victoria joined DuHope after hearing from a friend who told her that there was a woman who wanted to help women who once or are prostitute to be financially dependent. She underwent different trainings including hand artwork, finance and budgeting, Bible study, etc. all those trainings helped her and gave her a shift of life. She can now save for the future, she can provide for the basic needs at home, pay the rent, health insurance and other home expenses. Victoria has a side business of supplying empty bottles and jerricans to customers in need and she is looking forward to investing more money in the business to supply even for bigger companies.
Before Victoria joined DuHope, she was a street vendor of vegetable which is illegal in Rwanda. They are place she would not even think of going to sell his merchandise and also whenever she would be standing, the police would come anytime and take her if caught by surprise or run away and leave the merchandise there, loss now and then. It was never safe for her to work in that situation but again the capital was small to start a legal cheap business, harder even to provide for her family. She practiced prostitution on side to raise income and instead, she got pregnant with the so called boyfriend and gave birth to a disabled child who needed much attention, the man left him and never helped in anyway, no wonder he was a drunkard. Victoria continued working as a street vendor and a hidden prostitute but again she was impregnated by another man after 9 years and gave birth to a second girl but at least the child was health, today she is 7 years old. By the time it got even harder to feed both children as a single mom, the treatment for the 1st child was so expansive and almost impossible but she was brave enough to stay with her and do all way to feed her in her poverty. However, she never wanted anyone to see the child. Now that the child is 16 years old, she is always in the room, to avoid insults from the neighbors and the unpredicted visitors.
After some time in DuHope, as counselling session were conducted, it was obvious on how burdened Victoria was. She shared her story and accepted to let people from DuHope see her disabled daughter, since her second child would come with her to work and play with other children for other women in DuHope. Jamie, the Director of DuHope searched for doctors who can help the child unfortunately they said that it was beyond their capacity and that the child is very old for the whatever kind of surgery she might have to go under. Jamie never stopped looking for donation in the US and all over the world.
“What should Victoria say? For the first time, people loved and cared for me expecting nothing in return. For the first time my child was accepted in the society I was living in, for the first time people asked me ‘How is Alice your first born doing today?’ For the first time I got stable financially and became able to provide for my children. I am a happy woman, working hard for my babies and hoping for a better future. I can’t thank enough DuHope leadership and Jamie in particular; my children are ever grateful for the woman their mama is turning into.” Victoria said.