THE BLOG

International Women's Day: Blog From Women for Women International, Rwanda Graduate

07/03/2014 15:53 GMT | Updated 07/05/2014 10:59 BST

I am an ordinary woman living in Rukara Sector of Kayonza District. My life used to be very hard, the only source of revenue was coming from tailoring from which I could not even raise enough money to sustain our basic needs. Even the sewing machine I was using I was renting for 3,000 Rwandan francs a month.

When Women for Women International staff in Rwanda came to my village, I was among those vulnerable women who were needy. After being chosen I decided to enroll in the Women for Women International program because I had learnt about how the life of other women near my area had changed due to the trainings and skills gained.

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Women for Women class in Rwanda, Women for Women International

During the program I was trained on financial management and savings, from which I started saving small amounts of money. Through these savings I managed to purchase my own sewing machine. With the use of this sewing machine I was able to make enough money to support my family's basic needs. WfWI trained us on many things, but the ones that have been very useful to me are health and wellness, decision making, social networks, business and small business management.

I now have my own business. I purchase Kitenge cloth from which I make dresses and sell. I also make baby carriers and bed sheets. Other members from my community bring their own cloth and I charge them to make them dresses.

I was able to start the business thanks to a loan for my business worth 200,000 Rwandan francs from Urwego Opportunity Bank which I used to purchase two sewing machines and law materials.

With my independence I feel better able to stand up for my rights. There is no specific moment but I have been able to also mentor my husband to do business together. As a result he respects my decisions and most decisions are decided upon collectively.

Women in my area chose me to represent them on the National Women Council at Village level. My dream is to expand my business in terms of purchasing more modern sewing machines and expand on the current clientele. As for my children my dream is to be able to educate them up to University level.

Sponsor a woman like me through the one-year program for £22 per month

For more information, go to womenforwomen.org.uk