Empower 50 Survivors of Sex Trafficking in Rwanda

by Esther's Aid For Needy and Abandoned Children, Inc

At Esther’s Aid our MISSION is to Love, Care, Train, and Empower. 

The ongoing rescue, training and empowerment program at Esther's Aid for the victims of sex-trade and trafficking is gaining more momentum. Some of the young women are being employed.  But about 90% have formed cooperatives with the help of Business Coaches, who provide additional training on marketing orientation and linkage to small microfinance institutions.

Again, the training at Esther's Aid in Pattern Design and Tie & Dye technique was geared towards upgrading their skills, which gives the women more opportunities to earn money and improve their economic status.

The women were given different workshops such as:

  1. Tie & Dye ( Fabric Design) as a technical skill.

  2. Entrepreneurship which included: goals setting and leadership skills, as well as, job creation.

  3. Bible studies.

The overall objective of the training was to provide them with knowledge and skills for creating their own businesses, which in turn would help restore self-dignity and end the cycle of poverty.

Esther’s Aid hired Business Coaches to educate these women on how they can market their products, work with small microfinance institutions, and form their own lending groups to help each other.

At our viisit on 7th February 2018:

  • 42 of them formed a group and they are working on their own now.

  • The production is continuous and sales of their product is improving.

  • A small number of them opted to secure jobs for themselves with the Chinese Garment Industry in Kigali.

In the photos below, they showed Esther’s Aid Country Director that the training provided to them was successful and has helped them to make money through the beautiful products that they created.

The fabrics that women made are Amazing!  People can use it in making bags, sofa and bed covers, shirts and many more things.

Though the women have been working, they have some challenges - such as the following:

  • The working place is very small. They need space to expand their trade.

  • Good Fabrics & colors are still being imported to Rwanda, which increases expenses and reduces their profit margins.



Dear Friends of Esther's Aid, 

I hope you enjoy this wonderful report about the miraculous training that has taken place through Esther's Aid.  As you will read below and see the beauriful pictures attached, these women have been transformed along with their lives and their hopes for a new and sustainable future.


More than 50 women from Rusororo who were prostitutes have received three months of extensive training in modern tie and dye techniques.  They were taught the process of tying and dyeing fabric, cloth or scarf, made from cotton.  The training will provide the women with the skills that they need to start a small business in their areas. This will empower rural women to move from unemployment to self-sufficiency, ending prostitution and poverty in their lives.

“Empowering women is the catalyst for positively impacting the future of the community towards a transformed society." said by Clare Effiong (Country Director and Founder Esther’s Aid).   She said that she is happy to see women become more powerful and she is so joyful when she sees their lives change.

Week one

On the first week of training students get the basic skills in tie and dye for the following lessons:

  • Introduction of tie and dye

  • Materials need for tie and dye

  • Types of colors

  • Use of equipments

“I was in bad condition of life where even I didn’t 500 RWF to buy potatoes for my children.  But when Esther’s Aid came here and told us about this training, I felt happy because I am going to learn how get out of poverty and it will help me to earn money and feed my family." said Claudine.

Week two:

On the week two of the training women trainer taught them about:

  • Colors mixture

  • Color combination

  • Name of color for dye

  • Types of clothes/name

The trainer used all possible ways to explain the lessons and she gave them notes.  She used English and the students got the notes translated in their local language when they arrived home.

Week three:

Third week of the training was about:

  • Basic knowledge of dyeing

  • Recipe for dye preparation

  • Procedure for tie and dyeing fabric

  • Dyeing fade materials

  • Note key for dyeing fade clothes

Week four:

Name of chemicals/ identification

  • Soda  caustic soda)

  • Hydrosulphite

  • Dye

Challenges that they have which are:

  • They don’t know if they could get the chemicals used in tie and dye easily.

  • There are some who can’t get money for the materials that can help them to learn the craft.

Success stories:

  • 9 fabrics were sold and they managed to earn 135 000Rwf from them.

  • 2 of the trainees managed to get employed by one of the Chinese clothes manufacturer in Masoro.

The local names and means of patterns (designs)

The trainees gave patterns local names so that they were meaningful.  It helped the women to introduce the new products in Rwanda and it will help them in the marketplace.

1.  Eleson URUMURI: This means light. It is significant because the skills training from Esther's Aid has brought LIGHT into their darkness. As this light shines through them, their lives will change for the best. 

2.  Envelope - INYENYERI
This envelope patterns, after folding and unfolding, it looks like STARS. They name it STARS because they will shine like stars with a bright future.

3.  Zebra- Crossing - Ubumwe:
They name it UBUMWE - Unity
They name this pattern UNITY because by unity, they will achieve and ascend greater heights.  Zebra crossing are lines on the road that help passengers to cross safely. It's like bonding together to cross the swamp of poverty to the mountaintop of abundance. They explained that, when you want to go fast, you go alone, but when you want to go far, you go with others.

4.  NEEDLE - ICYEREKEZO- This means Vision. As Esther's Aid took them when there were hopeless, gave them vision and hope through the fabric design skills, which will help them restore their hope for a better life.

 Prepared by: NDAMUKUNDA Olivier for Clare Effiong




Dear GlobalGiving Friends of Esther's Aid

In late June, Mikey Rothwell, a Field Representative from GlobalGiving visited Esther's Aid in Kigali. Here is one of his comments from his report.

Quote from the In-the-Field Traveler
Esther's Aid is truly changing the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in Rwanda - their vocational training programs for victims of sex trafficking among other vulnerable groups allows them the ability to build a hopeful future after the unspeakable abuse they've suffered.”  We are grateful for Mikey's visit and appreciate his beautiful comments.

The victims of sex-trafficking that flock to Esther's Aid have been integrated into many Programs of Esther's Aid. This has been very successful in helping to build their self-esteem. In my last report, I spoke about the Trainer that we needed so much for the Fashion Design Program. Through the Grace of God, we were able to bring this Trainer to Esther's Aid and also the outposts, where Esther's Aid has expanded. Below is the report from one of our Monitoring & Evaluation Officers on the ground.


Esther's Aid is operating now in different regions of Rwanda, such as Jabana, Kacyiru and Masaka (Kabuga). Through the Huguka Dukore Project. Esther's Aid has recruited 450 youth with the help from local leaders in the Gasabo sectors. This project's main aim is to train youth to earn money through our different Programs and thus increase their potential for finding employment. These young people are vulnerable, like the victims of sex trafficking. These sites have a number of students, as presented in the graphs below.

Trade                          Number of Students

Culinary Arts                        123

Mushroom growing               90

Bakery                                   60

Fashion & Home Accessories

Tailoring                                63

Knitting                                  57

Fabric Design                        57

Total                                    450


Gender by Sector

Sector                           Men               Women         Total

Kacyiru                            38                     85               123

Jabana                              9                    114               123

Masaka (Kabuga)              -                       -                   87

Total                                                                             333

Please Note: The gender at Kabuga wasn’t identified because, on July 21, 2017 a group of Trainees returned home due to the lack of a big place to train them. Plus, their numbers are not final which means we are still recruiting.


This site started before the others on 6 July 2017, which makes them ahead of the others. They have reached Module 6 out of 8, called UBURENGANZIRA N’ INSHINGANO Z’ ABAKOZI N’ ABAKORESHA. In this ending week, they have started doing assessments on the two starting modules called 1) Kongera ubumenyi and 2) Kuganira n abandi.


The training on Jabana site started on 17 July 2017. The recruited youth got a general overview of the program. Students were very interested and asked questions about the program.


Esther's Aid Founder Clare Effiong, our Country Director visited this site on 19 July 2017 to make a deep introduction to the students who were being trained about Tie-Dye. These young people were involved in the Huguka Dukore Project too. Their training officially started on 21 July 2017, because there was another group which had to be recruited. After a general overview of the program on the first day, the students learned how to get to know each other through different methodologies, such as games. Their training continued on 24 July 2017.

Done in Kigali on 23 July 2017

by RUSANGANWA Eustache Marius, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer

Dear Friends,

See all the exciting things happening in Rwanda with Esther's Aid and the Grace of God. But we need much more money PLEASE! There is almost $5,200 remaining on this GlobalGiving Project. Help us continue this important work We cannot give these young people what they need without your continued generosity. God bless you abundantly.

Warm regards from the field,

Clare Effiong

Founder, Esther's Aid and Rwanda Country Director

Please be sure and look at the attached photo documents!


In the Kitchen
In the Kitchen

My dear Friends of Esther's Aid,

Greetings from the ground in Rwanda!  Our project to "Empower 50 Survivors of Sex-Trafficking” continues, just as we have indicated in our last reports. The first phase, since its inception, is in place. Thanks to the initial outpouring of Global Giving donations, the action plan to accommodate was done.  We have had great success integrating many of the women into the programs at Esther's Aid.

The training of the young women registered in our culinary school is in progress. They are part of our student body showing wonderful transformations. We have gone further to ensure that clear pathways to employment transition are identified in culinary art, bakery, tailoring, fabric design (tie & die) and mushroom growing. Esther’s Aid has brought in an expert in fabric design to train the women and further enhance the skills and empowerment program.  We have waited a long time to get this trainer.

The women also benefit from the advantages that Esther's Aid brings to all the students. We work to ensure that at least 60% of youth participating in the program either access jobs, self-employment and/or business start-ups, and/or pursue further education and training. You have seen from our other reports what some of the women have accomplished. Esther's Aid fosters and nurtures partnerships with private sector companies and other employers to ensure work based learning opportunities that are sustainable and would lead to job placements.

Please, be mindful, not all are victims of sex-trafficking, but a mixture with those who were sex-workers (prostitutes). Since we started reaching out to these young girls and women, more are coming out and seeking help, because there are windows of opportunities for them. There has been a huge increase over these few years – and we have handled it, but not without a huge strain on the program. The challenge we face in this project is funding. This affects the short term room and board, short term financial aid, and emergency health care assistance. Areas that are so crucial to the women's survival.

Dear friends, without ongoing funding, the women in these programs do survive, but we want to continue to support their efforts to thrive, as well as, rescue the new survivors that flock to our doors. There is still almost $6,000 left unfunded on our GG page. Please, help us to reach our goal ASAP.

It is so fulfilling because we are investing in the lives of those who had absolutely no hope. God has helped and still helps us to put smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. We bless you and pray that you will continue to help us/them too.

Gratefully yours, 




Sewing Class
Sewing Class
The Group with a Volunteer
The Group with a Volunteer


February 19, 2017

Dear Friends of Esther's Aid, 

Since the start of 2017, we have received more victims – new groups are pouring in. This is because of the progress we have demonstrated and recorded since the beginning.

Presently, we have 98 women who are being trained by 6 leaders in 13 groups. Note, not all are victims of sex- trafficking, but a mixture of sex workers. Again, since we started reaching out to the victims, others keep coming to seek help. Some of the young women from this group were registered at Esther's Aid School and will be graduating with other students on February 24, 2017. Esther's Aid has given them hope for a better future. They believe because they are now educated and trained. We are so proud of these women.

After monitoring and evaluating the project, there are basic things we need to put in place - if we are to continue with this success. We still intend to bring in a Trainer next month, if there are funds available. This professional will teach advanced sewing, accessory making and hat design. Also, we are restructuring our action plan to accommodate the new groups that are pouring in. Our partnership with community leaders, especially in the villages near the nation's borders, helps our continuous efforts in identifying these groups or individuals.

Dear friends, our Program is very successful and none of it would have happened without your generosity. However, those initial funds have dwindled and we are struggling to maintain this project. The lack of finances affects all parts of the program – especially, the critical care we provide when these brave survivors are rescued. This includes short term room and board, emergency health care assistance, and short term financial aid.

Esther's Aid will not give up. These women have survived horrific abuses. We will continue to give them the support they need. Please, help us with your on going support. We thank all our donors at GlobalGiving and we pray that God will bless you and yours for your compassion and giving.


Clare Effiong

Founder & Executive Director. Esther's Aid, Kigali, Rwanda



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Organization Information

Esther's Aid For Needy and Abandoned Children, Inc

Location: New Rochelle, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.esthersaid.org
Project Leader:
Colleen Lehane
Executive Director, USA
New Rochelle, NY United States
$16,403 raised of $20,000 goal
209 donations
$3,597 to go
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