It can be a dog-eat-dog world when you live in poverty. And for Illuminate, a 57 year old woman from Busekera, Rwanda, life had pushed her to the bottom of society.
“My husband left me 15 years ago. My daughter had an unwanted pregnancy. I don’t have emotional stability. I was not able to attend community meetings because of being marginalized,” she explains. As a single mother of six and a social outcast, her opportunities for success were slim.
But healthy communities care for their most vulnerable. And as FH walked alongside the community of Busekera, they began to embrace new principles for how they treated their poor.
Illuminate explained, “In 2017, FH Staff invited all community members for a meeting and shared a scripture from Psalm 82:3-4 says ‘Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy deliver them from the hand of the wicked.’ I was allowed to attend this meeting, and I was soon shortlisted to receive an animal.” The pig that Illuminate received became her first step out of poverty.
In less than a year, the pig gave birth to seven piglets. Illuminate was able to sell some of the piglets and use the income to tend to her family’s needs. She even gave one pig to her neighbor to raise—a practice strongly encouraged for all farming families who receive livestock from FH.
As the years went on, community members that once held negative biases towards Illuminate began to accept her. She began to make friends, and they invited her to join a Savings and Loans Group. Illuminate is hoping that the group yields more opportunities for her in time.
Ending poverty is more than just supplying pigs or cows, or providing kids with classrooms. It means an attitude shift for an entire community, where every member is included and recognized for having something to offer.
“I know that God loves a poor woman like me,” smiles Illuminate. “This is what the Kingdom of God looks like!”