My name is UA (names are hidden for anonymous purpose); I was born in Gicumbi, Byumba. Currently I live in Kimironko sector. I am a mother of 5 Children and life has never been easy since I could remember. This forced me to become a street vendor selling some fruits to be able to feed my children because my husband was not helping me at all; he was just a ‘useless drunkard’.

My husband betrayed me; he sold the house we bought together and left me with 4 Children. I was so stuck with pain, thinking of how I was going to live in the city without a house or a job with 4 children. Shortly after my husband left, I started going to the Church to pray in order to find some comfort and solutions to my problems; sometimes I would feel at peace and other times I would feel so much anxiety that I could not contain the situation.

From that moment, I resented my family because they could see my pain but are not willing to help me and my children. I continued to be a street vendor so that my children could eat meanwhile I backslide from the faith and started learning how to drink alcohol because of all my problems. I never knew it would reach the addiction level; I was just drinking mildly to see if I can forget all the difficulties and issues in my life and in the life of my children.

My Children stopped going to school because of lack of tuition fees. My oldest Child is a Girl; she is very smart in school but stopped in primary 3 because of lack of money. The issue of drinking and my absence from the house got worse which caused the pregnancy of my daughter at the age of 15 years.  My daughter became desperate and she was forced to offer her body so that she could get some in order to buy some food so that her and her siblings could eat some food. I have no knowledge of who made her pregnant. My second born finished primary 6, but could not continue in high school due to lack of school fee and the rest of my Children have not joined school at all.

I kept on selling fruits on the street in order to pay for house rent. The stress am going through makes me feel and act like a mad woman: when a man buys some fruits from me and promises to buy some drinks for me, I would accept and go to have drinks with him.  That was how I ended into prostitution yet I had young children that needed my attention and guidance at home.

A man would come and buy from me fruits and suggests to give me 10.000rwf to sleep with me.  In that moment I would think about the rent that I haven’t paid yet and how my children haven’t eaten anything for days, that’s when I would now come to accept the money. This is how I became addicted to sex work and alcohol.

Shortly after engaging into prostitution, I met a man and he said that he loved me and that he wanted to help me, I told him about the difficulties I faced with my ex-husband. As a result of hard life, I sent my children back to the village to their grandparents. This man I met promised to go with me at my home to see my family and my children. Because of the problem I faced, I felt like he was sent by God to help me, not knowing he was bringing more troubles in my life.

He came and we started living together but shortly, after, he started hating my 4 children to the point where he would come home and not greet them. I could see that he had no love at all for my Kids which made me furious, and, we started quarreling and having problems at home. Meanwhile he made me pregnant. I gave birth, and when the Child made one year old, the man left me. Life became even more difficult than before:  I went back to sex work and alcohol.

Early this year I met with Purpose Rwanda that became a family to me and they help in times of need. They taught me how to put my trust in the Lord. Since then, my way of life has changed through the mentorship sessions, kindness, care and love that they showed me and my children. They said “everything is possible with God” and I believe it and it is true in my life.

My greatest desire is to engage in business of fruits selling and other food stuffs in order to send back my children to school and give them a better life.

Given this opportunity, I will use it to the best of my abilities to develop financially on a personal level and make contribution to the development of my country at large.

God bless Rwanda.