My name is Mukeshimana Francoise. I am a 43 year old married woman with 4 children. I live in Gasura village, Kagatamu cell, Bushenge sector in Nyamasheke district. I heard about the VSLA saving system from two CORE village agents in our village. I was immediately interested in joining them because I like the idea of women being empowered. When I joined, we were trained on how to organize a VSLA group. It was hard to understand how it could be possible for one to start with 500 Rwf and then accumulate more money.
Together with a group of 23 women, we formed Dushyigikirane VSLA group and started saving. After three month, I was among the first people to ask for a loan. I took out 30,000 Rwf which I used to begin a decoration business. When I got my first client, I hired two people, one to make a cake and the other to decorate the wedding venue. As I watched my staff do their work, I was learning from them. My first client paid me 120,000 Rwf and I managed to pay back the loan I took from the VSLA group. Before joining the VSLA, I had always depended on my husband for everything but now the situation has changed. So far, I have bought 4 wedding gowns, 8 suits for men and 12 pairs of Rwandan women traditional dressings (Imishanana) which I rent to people during ceremonies. I am grateful to World Vision and FVA for the trainings that they provided to us that have made me the type of person I am today.
My business right now has a capital of 700,000 Rwf. Though I was married it wasn’t a legal marriage. Using the profits obtained from the business, I managed to organize my own marriage with my husband. I decorated it myself, made the cake, dressed myself , my husband, best men, matrons and my parents.
Economic Empowerment of Nyiransengiyumva Philomene from Bushenge Sector – Nyamasheke District through the Creating Off Farm Rwandan Enterprises Project (CORE)
My name is Nyiransengiyumva Philomene, a 30 year old single woman from Gatare village, Kagatamu cell, Bushenge sector in Nyamasheke district. I joined a VSLA called ABAHUJE in January 2017 after a mobilization conducted by FVA staff and village agents. When I joined the VSLA, the beginning was tough because I did not have money for my savings but I persisted. The share each week was 500 Rwf. After 3 months, I took a loan of 40,000 Rwf which I used to buy beans and cassava, make powder and sell it.
Before the share out, I took loans three times and managed to pay back the money. We have now started the second cycle and I still save with my group. My capital without loans stands at 200,000Rwf. Before entering the saving system, I used to work for other people cultivating their lands and being paid 1000 Rwf per day which was far from being enough to meet my needs. As we speak now, apart from meeting my basic needs, I manage to save a minimum of 10,000 Rwf per month which to me is a big achievement.
I couldn’t figure out how to get out of poverty before I joined the CORE project but right now, I have confidence and changes in my life are remarkable to everyone who knew me before. I have realized that success comes slowly, step by step and I know that things are possible as long as I work hard and remain honest. I thank FVA and World Vision and encourage them not to stop because they are making a difference in people’s lives.