April 24, 2011; Source: The Standard | Some stories simply pull at your gut. In this piece from Nairobi’s The Standard, former sex workers tell of their horrible lives before and after becoming sex workers – and then the discovery of a sense of purpose after receiving assistance from the Urembo Foundation.

Urembo is dedicated to the “rehabilitation” of commercial sex workers by providing them with microloans to start businesses. In the case of the two women profiled in this story, Urembo’s loans created a beauty salon and a cereals store. Urembo claims to have rehabilitated 55 former sex workers.

The Standard story describes the Urembo loans as “soft loans”, which means loans at concessionary rates (below market) and terms (such as extended repayment periods). Microloans often address much more than business interests, in this case, serving as means for young Kenyan women to escape their horrible lives as commercial sex workers.—Rick Cohen