If you had told me that I would go from a farmer to a businesswoman who shattered barriers for her family to live a comfortable life, I would doubt you. But things can change for the better if you dare to believe in yourself.
After the genocide, hunger became a constant issue. I was not employed and had given up on farming. The only skill I had was making soccer balls, but trade was so unfamiliar to me that there was no profit, and I could not afford to buy the materials necessary to create them.
My heart was burdened with sorrow. My husband and I struggled to send our six children to school or provide for them. We both cultivated other people’s crops; however, we did not benefit from our own harvest because the landowners would demand most of our portion. Despite these challenges, I continued to persevere and work hard for the welfare of my family, but it was a very difficult period in our lives.
When Women for Women International came to my community, they were like a guiding light that offered me support and guidance to make a difference in my life and for my family.
Though I was initially hesitant, I gathered the courage to attend group activities, where we were taught valuable skills in business, entrepreneurship, and other topics and were given the ability to join a savings group.
I was so inspired by my training that I dared to step out of my comfort zone and suggested to the other women from my savings group that we should begin to create and sell soccer balls, a challenging goal since we would need support to obtain the materials needed.
Nevertheless, they agreed with the idea and provided us with the raw materials and machinery required to make our idea a reality. At first, we ran into issues with having enough materials to make the soccer balls, but in the end, we succeeded in our goal. Our work paid off for all of us; we’d originally entered the program as women struggling to make ends meet, but day by day, we became successful businesswomen. During the FIFA Cup in Rwanda, the President of FIFA even stopped by the center with other officials. He was very impressed with the soccer balls we made and the time we took to ensure the quality. Later, we were all excited to hear that the President recognized our work during an event with the press!
As a result of all this effort, I bought a plot of land with my earnings and plan to build a house, and this is just the beginning. I also plan to continue working and gradually build houses to rent and earn more money. In a few years, I will have saved enough to build a house for each of my children. I also want them to receive a good education and hope to leave them with a better life.
I also hope that one day, I will have grandchildren who will come from a good background. I will support them all because now, I have the strength and ability to do so.