Rural Development Inter- Diocesan Service (RDIS) has observed over the years through community entry and need assessment activities dealing with orphans and vulnerable children that most homes are run by women most of whom are single and teenage mothers.
These we are willing to have trained and empowered to improve on the livelihood of their respective families. Most of the girls we interviewed assured us that they were able to engage in income generating activities, sales of used clothes, tailoring, hair dressing, knitting and other related businesses since most responsibilities in their homes depended on them. Women have become an increasing icon of social and economic development. However, five stumbling blocks have been identified to be increasing the vulnerability.
- Stigma surrounding the status of single mothers thus extra burden placed on the single mothers family by the arrival of another mouth to feed and the issue of having a child outside of marriage. This stigma means the mothers are discriminated against and so receive little or no help from the community.
- Employment opportunities. Often the only work available is very poorly-paid agricultural work, which does not provide sufficient income to support the single mother and her child. This problem is made worse by the difficulty of travelling to work with a young baby.
- Childcare. When the baby is young it is possible for the mother to take him/her to work with her but as the child grows it is usual for the mother to leave him/her behind to be looked after by older siblings. In some cases this is not possible due to the lack of older siblings and single mothers often have difficulty in finding someone from outside the family to care for the child.
- Caring for a new-born. Some find it not easy to obtain suitable foods for their baby, such as porridge, as well as clothes and other items of care.
- Lack of skills in small income generating project, family planning, entrepreneurship and job creation, saving and credit , HIV/AIDs and other sexual deceases, and behavior changes.
RDIS comes in to bridge the knowledge and skills gap that teenage and single mothers encounter in making their enterprises meet the needed success. Instead of working hard in the business and gaining nothing, its important that these individuals work hard on themselves, be equipped with the necessary tools and skills for entrepreneurial development.
RDIS is committed to empowering teenage and single mothers through sensitization seminars, dialogues, workshops and trainings, including initiation of income generating activities like, sales of used clothes, tailoring, knitting and hair dressing among others. RDIS via the support of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) has provided support to the projects developed by single mothers throughout the project operational area, these projects including but not limited to sewing, hairdressing, boutique, TIGO cash, pigs keeping etc.
Single mothers in Musambira Sector- Kamonyi District are now able to make a variety of handicrafts including but not limited to hand bags of different shapes and designs, small baskets for decollation purposes. They are of the opinion that they will no longer experience hardship resulting from the fact of being unemployed as they had to always depend on other people, begging support and were unable to address their basic needs. When you sell one hand bag well made you get between 3,000 Rwf and 4,000 Frw depending on the type of the bad and how big it is. We do except market opportunities and RDIS has also promised us to help find the market our projects.
AYIDUHAYE Jeannette born on the 9th of March 1996, in Nyerenga village, Kivumu Cell , Musambira Sector of Kamonyi District, she has been able to complete her Secondary one and could not go further. She got a chance to be integrated into the project plan whilst she was experiences hardships alongside her family, family conflicts were rampant and was actually leading a miserable life as she had no access to money that would help her to tackle some basic needs. As far as her prevailing stuation is concerned, Jeannette is able not only to make hand baga and cards photos but also has come to the level of making cards of different designs. She is very much hopeful and nowadays showing a happy face that after having complted her training, she will be able to provide for herself and her child, and she is comitted to upgrading her level of understanding as she was thinking that no thing can change her deplorable conditions, now actions are speaking louder. She testified.
RDIS has financed the projects of single mothers in its project operational area. Meetings were conducted before funds disbursement to first talk with the beneficiaries on how they should use the money and spend it on what they have planned, things that will in turn generate income, They have all welcomed pieces of advices that were put forward, asked a number of questions regards with business management and were promised to receive continued both moral and technical support from RDIS.
Single mothers were able to knit some pullovers, socks and babies clothes, more training in this field are on- going
A training workshop was organized regards with savings and credits to raise awareness among the project beneficiaries- single mothers in this regard about the benefits of saving. Also training aimed at imparting skills and knowledge among trainees on identifying sustainable ways of raising seed fund and adds- on funds for the profitable running of groups saving and credit schemes. The reasoning behind this training was that RDIS beneficiaries would opt to switch from any form of dependency and become matured,. Self reliant in the future when even the grant from RGB has phased out! They have shown motivation and enthusiasm vis vis how one might become self reliant and a famous business person staring from little savings he or she has gradually made.
Francine IRAFASHA is a single mother who resides in Ngara cell -Muyira Sector of Nyamagabe District. She has bought a matured pig at 80,000 Rwf with 9 piglets and after three weeks, she has sold the 6 piglets and made 48000 Rwf. Francine has taken the remaining two piglets and gave them to someone to keep them for her and the mother- pig is also pregnant and is expected to deliver in 4 months time.
Before Francine has benefitted from this program she was very much struggling to get some basic needs for her child and herself. It was wearisome to get basic necessities such as food, clothes, cosmetics and even paying mutual health. I was leading a critical life and felt stigmatized by my parents before getting this invaluable support. I have completed my primary education but did not have a chance to continue with my secondary education, I tried to find a job in a town of Nyamagabe and worked for one of the households in the Nyamagabe town as a housekeeper where I was accidently impregnated by an urban boy! When I returned home I was not well received because my parents were accusing me of being mindless and so ignorant as I got pregnant illegally and prematurely. I was actually feeling isolated and stigmatized, I am now very much thankful to RDIS for all they have done to rescue me and my child from the critical and deplorable situation I was experiencing, I hope my future is bright as they have not only trained me as women entrepreneur but also have enabled me to access the initial capital that has apparently started to boos my living conditions. Francine said.
Constance UWIHANGANYE .is a single mothers who resides in Ngara Cell, Mbazi Sector in Nyamagabe District. She has completed her secondary school in History, Economics and Geography but could not go to the University. She comes from a very poor family and could not afford basic necessities before she has joined RDIS project. After she has undergone theoretical trainings, Constance went on to undergo practical training in terms of knitting and sewing. The picture was taking when constance was showing the small jacket she has managed to knit and sew among many other types of clothes she was able to make such as pullover, dress, shorts and shirts. So far she has started to make some income from the sold items and she is very much hopeful to increase her earnings in future.
WIBABARA Emiliana, aged 21 lives in Muyira Sector of Nyanza District. She is part of the single mothers project and was supported to start up a small scale project in terms of selling tea and milk, fruits and bread. Emilianna has received support from Rural Development Inter- Diocesan Service (RDIS) and the support is being utilized to impact her life. She works on daily basis to get her business improved and she has so far reached to a number of things including but not limited to be able to pay mutual health insurance, buy decent clothes and she anticipate to reach much more in future.
UWIMANA Jacqueline was supported by RDIS to buy a sewing machine which she has placed at the centre of Muyira and is earning money via repairing and making clothes, I am very much thankful to the Lord and to RDIS in a special way because apart from the training I have received from RDIS, I was blessed to meet up with other girls of my age whom we discuss and interact a lot when we meet regards to how one may improve her life style. I have started benefitting from this project due to the fact that I can earn at least 5000 Frw per week some time more or less depending on the circumstances but comparing my situation before getting this sewing my chine I may say it was embarrassing for me to always beg from mum each and every thing that I needed. As of now I am very much hopeful that my life conditions will gradually improve. Another important thing I have benefited and or learnt from working with RDIS is about doing savings, before I had no knowledge about doing savings and could think it was for those who are rich but as of now I fully understand the essence of doing savings and I would like to encourage my fellow single mothers to learn about this saving culture because the little one may have will increase if it is well managed and if he/ she does proper savings. Jacqueline said
Single mothers in Munazi village- Musambira Sector have gathered at cell office to discuss issues alongside the project and share stories of transformation as well challenges encountered in the process of doing business. They are very keen to have a business at hand, increase their earnings and reduce the rates of unwanted pregnancy.
The project manager, Field coordinator as well the community facilitator sought to gather these single mothers in order to recall about the project main goals and expected project outputs vis vis the work being carried out. From this constructive interaction, single mothers who have already received funding from RDIS stood up to share success stories aiming at encouraging those who seemed a bit scared and not confident to dare and think of business of going business.
Cognizant, that union is strength; there is a team of 12 single mothers who decided to form their own association known as TWITEZIMBERE that aims at producing handicrafts using raw materials that are available in their locality. And basing upon the experience they have so far acquired this sort f business will certainly contribute a lot towards fostering their living conditions as they will selling out the made/ designed fabrics that are needed at the Rwandan labor market- promotion of made in Rwanda.
MUJAWAYEZU Pascasie, resides in the centre of Muyira Sector and is also one of the single mothers project beneficiaries and a single mother. She was helped to start up her own small business that concerns selling air time cards, charging peoples mobile phones and even working as a TIGO cash agent. Pascasie said: As a single mother, I used to straggle a lot finding porridge to my child and for myself because I come from a very poor family and the father of my child did refused to help me even pay for a mutual heath insurance card, and was frustrated vis vis all the challenges and hardship I have gone through and none could assist me. By the time I was disheartened, I came to hear from the village leader, saying about the meeting to take place at the cell office that would specifically target single mothers who are poor in our village, I was then very much enthusiastic towards attending the meeting the next day, when I reached the meeting,
I realized that RDIS staff together with our cell and village leaders were there to identify the poor single mothers to be gathered for trainings and enforcement of the likely existing skills to enable the single mothers improve their socio-economic development. Now that I was blessed to be identified and have undergone numerous training, most especially was very much interested in the training regards to entrepreneurship and job creation where I have developed this idea of selling airtime cards, charging cell phones and even working as a Tigo cash agent, I am earning money step by step and I praise God I have also found a good, strategic place to locate my business, I have no doubt that my life has even started changing.
Angelique MUKANTWARI, is a single mother in Munazi Viallge- Musambira Sector who comes from the very impoverished backgrounds and was leading deplorable conditions before joining RDIS. She was trained on hairdressing and later on elaborated a small project regards to dressing hair. The picture was taken when she was cutting hair of small child where her business is located at Kivumu center. She is very confident that the project brings about income and then she uses the earned money to address her sensitive needs including but not limited to the payment of mutual health insurance, food items, clothes, cosmetics and needs related to the social life, she can get a support to someone who is in the hospital and even assist those in critical conditions as she was experiencing such related issues before joining the program. I no longer struggle to get basic food because when I open my hair dressing salon I at least earn 800 per day and sometimes when it is at the weekends I can double the amount, as I have already opened an account at SACCO-MBONEZISONGA , I do not eat all the money that I earn but take a portion of it to be deposited at my account due to the fact that I rent a house that is why I strive to do savings. I am very much delighted to say thank you to the Lord who has answered my prayer and used RDIS and other well-wishers to support us, single mothers as we have been for so long stigmatized by some of the community members including our brethren. Angelique said.
By MPAYIMANA Fulgence
RDIS Project Manager