Empowering Sex Survivors
This project provides short-term room and board for nine to twelve months as well as emergency healthcare, counseling, advocacy, and financial aid to girls and women survivors of sex trafficking in Kigali, Rwanda.
The young girls and women who have been victimized by sex traffickers are extremely vulnerable and at risk of re-traumatization because of their horrific experience. They exhibit symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder including depression and anxiety, poor self esteem, withdrawn behavior, promiscuity, habit disorders and rejection. By enrolling in Esther's Aid’s training and Entrepreneurship Programs, these women and girls are empowered by dignity and self confidence in their new skills and abilities to seek employment. We mentor them and encourage them to support each other as they engage in cooperative and entrepreneurial activities. The ultimate goal is to guide them as they transition from their past lives of abuse and victimization to achieving stability and independence.
My name is Liliane Uwamahoro. I was raped by an adult man, at the age of 12. I was in Primary Four (P4). I couldn’t go to school again that year because I was very sick and I was spending most of the time in the hospital. It was the saddest thing that ever happened to me, I didn’t know what to do. My friends hated me for that and my mom too. I was becoming useless to her and to myself as well. To be raped is the worse thing that can happen to a girl or anyone. The hope of living was taken away from me. I tried to commit suicide multiple times but it didn’t work.
Few years later, I found out about Esther’s Aid school, it was during a graduation ceremony on TV News. I couldn’t believe that one could actually get a free education. Early December last year I came and registered. When the school registered me, I felt like my dream came true since there is no fees. I now have hope for the future, because I am finally going to be able to help myself. After this year I will no longer depend on anyone for a living. I thank God and Esther’s Aid for turning my life around. I have made up my mind to work hard, succeed in life, and help those who hated me when I was raped and abandoned.
Thank you mama Clare for making me have self worth again as a girl. I will work hard and become somebody that will make you proud
Thousands of youngsters have benefited from Esther's Aid by attaining training in culinary art, tailoring and arts and craft. Paul Mukeshinema, who currently works at Kigali Serena Hotel, is one of them.
27-year-old Mukeshinema has been working as a chef at Kigali Serena Hotel for the last three years.
"When I completed senior six in 2009, I didn't have the resources to further my studies in university. But one lucky day in 2011, I happened to pass by Esther's Aid premises in Kcyiru when I saw huge Read More
BOSTON — Nine years old and orphaned by ethnic genocide, he was living in a burned-out car in a Rwandan garbage dump where he scavenged for food and clothes. Daytimes, he was a street beggar. He had not bathed in more than a year.
When an American charity worker, Clare Effiong, visited the dump one Sunday, other children scattered. Filthy and hungry, Justus Uwayesu stayed put, and she asked him why. Read More
Embassy employees Jenny Foltz, Sanya Hunsucker, and Joe Foltz wrote a proposal to the J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust to help Esther’s Aid purchase some additional supplies – sewing machines, irons, tables, chairs, and baking materials – as well as build a kitchen garden. Esther’s Aid supports a small vocational training school in Kigali for vulnerable youth where students receive one year of training in sewing or catering, and English language at no cost. Read More
That very thought entered the mind of Clare Effiong in 1999. She had been living in New Rochelle for almost 10 years and felt time and time again an internal void in her heart. She was compelled to leave her job and everything familiar to travel to Rwanda in Africa in hopes of finding what she was looking for. Read More
EVERY August for the past five years, Esther’s Aid for Needy and Abandoned Children, a New Rochelle-based charity, has sent at least one shipping container of food, clothing and other items to Rwanda. This year, another one is ready to go, but whether the items, which range from office furniture to dry goods to soccer balls, will make the trip this month is in question as the group struggles to come up with the $10,000 needed to pay for shipping. Read More
Imagine that you are so hungry you are willing to eat feted garbage. Imagine also that your parents are dead, maybe killed while you watched, and you have no place to live. All that you own are the ragged clothes on your back. Imagine a life so devoid of the basics that you live, literally, at the waste dump on top of heaps of garbage; or, when the weather is bad, in a dumpster itself. Imagine all of this, still, in the intense heat of Africa. Read More
You’ve probably never heard the name Justus Uwayesu before today but his story is as inspiring as it is tragic. Born two years before the ethnic genocide in Rwanda, Justus’ early life would be dominated by the tragedy that resulted in the death of 800,000 people in just 100 days. Born in rural eastern Rwanda, Justus was left an orphan at three years old when his father was killed for identifying as part of the Tutsi clan and his mother disappeared not long after. He and three of his siblings were rescued by Red Cross workers who cared for him until 1998, when they had to disband due to a large influx of parentless children. Read More
She offered to help them, offered them food, shelter and a chance at an education. One of the boys, a 7-year-old orphan named Justus Uwayesu, approached her and accepted her help.
"He said, 'I want to go to school,'" Effiong recalled, sitting in a sunlit corner of her New Rochelle office. Read More