Message from Nancy Hurst, Board of Directors Chair

For 38 years, I worked for the state of Oklahoma in family support, child welfare, and the Department of Rehabilitation. Here in Oklahoma, we have government sponsored relief programs, SNAP benefits and TANF, Low Income Home Energy Assistance, childcare, subsidy for low-income families and health related services, just to name a few. In addition to that, there are housing programs, shelters for the homeless, soup kitchens and food pantries, churches that will help with gas money, furniture, food, and other items that are needed. These organizations simply aren’t available in Rwanda and the poverty is so great. There is little to no free government assistance for those who live in the margins there.

The women DuHope serves are women who, as a last resort, turned to survival sex work. They want out and they need a way to support themselves and their families.

DuHope is a program that interrupts the circle of poverty by providing literacy and job skills training, healing trauma, and offering spiritual development, teaching women how to effectively parent their children while taking care of themselves. They are proud of the work they do as skilled artisans and the example they now can provide their children of what it looks like to work in a professional capacity.

Empowering women is the key to healthy children and families, and I want to be a part of that work!

My role as a working board member includes providing mentorship and leadership training to our staff who in turn pass that knowledge on to the artisans. I had the privilege of traveling to Rwanda and getting to know the group firsthand. I was committed before, but that trip cemented my confidence in the progress that is being accomplished by the DuHope staff as they work toward reaching the 10,000 sex workers in Rwanda.

We live in a global economy and it's important to us to not only serve here in Oklahoma, but also in other parts of the world. I choose Rwanda and the women of DuHope. I hope you will too.