Small Business Stories
DuHope creates opportunities for women to exit sex work by equipping them with artisan skills and offering spiritual development, counseling, education, childcare and other services necessary for them to provide for themselves and their children in a dignified and sustainable way. Some of the women rely only on the income they earn from DuHope, but others have been driven to start small businesses. Being part of the DuHope program has been a huge blessing for them as they have opened their minds to the possibility of earning stable income beyond DuHope. These artisans' success is an inspiration.
In the early days of DuHope, the artisans were paid weekly and the money wasn’t always enough to cover all of the women's expenses. One of our artisans, Victoria, has had small businesses since 2005. Having a child with special needs, Victoria doesn't like not having money to spare. She began by selling clean empty jerry cans (plastic jugs) that can carry 20 liters of water. After joining the DuHope family, she started a pedicure and manicure business to meet her additional budget needs. Her biggest dream is to earn enough through her businesses to buy a house.
Francine also found that her expenses were beyond what her work at DuHope could provide. With 8 children to raise on her own and feeling a desire for personal development, she started a vegetable and fruit business 3 years ago. Her dream is to earn enough to buy a house, comfortably pay for her children's tuition and have a better standard of living in general.
Alphonsine had a different reason behind opening a business. She worried what would happen if DuHope ever closed its doors or if she was no longer a part of it. She determined that it wouldn’t be wise to return to sex work after everything she had accomplished so far. This prompted her to start an airtime selling business 7 months ago. Her dream is to buy a house and live with her children, who currently live in the village since her house is too small to accommodate them.
Like Alphonsine, Josephine started her business out of concern that she may not work for DuHope at some point in the future. She opened a shop 2 years ago. Today, one of her children has joined her in the running of her business. She would love to buy a house once her business expands.Whatever their reason for starting small businesses, DuHope is proud of everything these women have been able to accomplish. Their motivation and success are a lesson to their peers that anything is possible, no matter where they started.