Let Us Transforms Lives (LUTI) works closely with the people most likely to live in poverty in Rwandan society: unemployed women, and children. Despite Rwanda's progress on ensuring gender equality, rural women – and their families – face a lack of education, training and healthcare. LUTI works with community groups and schools to ensure that no one is left behind.

Our International Service ICS volunteers have stayed true to this spirit of inclusiveness. They've reached out to the one of the most marginalised groups in Rwandan society: sex workers. For many women in poverty, sex work is the only source of income. But it comes at a price.

Sex workers are denied basic health services, and are at risk of unwanted pregnancy, STDs, and violence.

An estimated 25% of sex workers in Rwanda are HIV positive. Despite this, the stigma around sex work means that many local organisations are wary of working with these women.

Last year, our volunteers worked with 25 female sex workers from the Mutara region. They acted as a bridge between the group and the local community, so that the women were able to access the support they needed.

Volunteers recorded the violence the women faced, building a map of the safest areas for the women to work. They negotiated with a local lawyer, who trained the women on their legal rights. And they worked with local sexual health clinics to ensure that the women are able to access the advice, support and treatment they desperately need.

But as well as ensuring the women could stay safe in the present, the volunteers worked with the women to give them options for the future. They trained women on how to make and lotions and soap, so they can find alternative ways to earn a living.

For the women of this group, working with volunteers was the first time they'd had access to training that could help them improve their lives. Pauline*, says: "we really appreciated the legal training – we learned what we should do when we're treated badly."

Louise*, the leader of the Mutara group, explains: "after this soap training, we've decided we want to get more training and start selling the soap as a co-operative."

We work directly with communities and groups of people who want to make lasting change happen for them. Find out how you can support our work.

(*Due to the stigma surrounding sex work, all names in the case study have been changed to protect the women's privacy.)