Ex-sex workers turn to God, learn hands-on skills

Heneriette Mujawimana is a former commercial sex worker in Busanza Sector, Kicukiro District. She has two children fathered by different men. She has, however, since abandoned commercial sex work after turning to God.
Families and friends had gathered during the graduation of the former prostitutes.  (Photos by Michel Nkurunziza)
Families and friends had gathered during the graduation of the former prostitutes. (Photos by Michel Nkurunziza)

Heneriette Mujawimana is a former commercial sex worker in Busanza Sector, Kicukiro District. She has two children fathered by different men.

She has, however, since abandoned commercial sex work after turning to God.

“I had a husband; but when he died, I resorted to commercial sex work. I could leave my children at home in the evening and go searching for men to sleep with. I am not ashamed of telling my story. I was also addicted to marijuana and  alcohol,” she said.

“One time, Pastor Chantal Nyirakinyana, (of Busanza Gospel Church) came to preach to me and I first resisted, I even threw stones at her but she persisted. I thought I could not survive without commercial sex. But I was finally converted and I gradually changed,” she said.

Mujawimana said she is now delighted that the word of God has inspired her for the last two years.

She is one of the 26 former commercial sex workers who recently graduated with tailoring skills after completing a six month training in Busanza.

“I can now preach and sing in the church choir. When I am tempted to fall  back, I’m guided by the word of God back on to the right path.  With the training I have had, I can now sew and weave men and women’s clothes,” she said.

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Former prostitutes pose with their certificates in tailoring.

Alphonsine Mukagenzi, another former sex worker said she met the female pastor who converted them at different places, including on the streets where they could gather waiting for clients.

“We trained in tailoring for six months. This is commendable support. I come from Southern Province, I had left home for Kigali city in search for domestic work which I later abandoned for prostitution. But I am now changed,” she said.

Pator Nyirakinyana said she convinces sex workers through preaching and thereafter seek sustainable support for them.

“We first supported 50 and trained them in different technical skills such as tailoring, weaving and other hands-on skills. We have now graduated 26 former sex workers whom we trained  and taught self-reliance values,” she said.

The women are grouped in an association called “Kura Mugore.”

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Chantal Nyirakinyana who preached to the prostitutes and provided support in learning technical skills.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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