“To shift from extreme poverty to welfare is possible. To become someone else is possible if you put into practice what FH has given as training and support.” - Jeanne, Rwanda
Jeanne got married young—just 20 years old! And her husband Eric was only 22. They’ve had a hard go of it, supporting themselves in rural Rwanda. With no land of their own, it’s been difficult to make a living.
On top of that, Eric used to drink a lot, squandering their scarce money on alcohol. As a result, they sometimes went to bed hungry.
FH Rwanda’s small business training program was a life-line for Jeanne. FH offered the workshops free of charge to 10 of the most vulnerable families in her community—and she easily qualified! In 2018, she joined a Savings and Loans group where she took small business training and then received a pig and vegetable seeds to help her get started. She learned how to make compost, plan a successful kitchen garden, and assert herself as an entrepreneur.
Jeanne crafted and presented a business plan for a small project and was awarded RWF 83,300 ($83 USD) to launch her new venture.
|Jeanne is known in her community for her delicious tomatoes, and for lifting her family out of extreme poverty.|
Not owning any land herself, Jeanne had to be resourceful, renting land when possible and borrowing farming space from friends. By working hard, she’s been able to grow enough vegetables to maintain a market stall in their community, selling her produce to buy food and daily necessities for herself, Eric, and their 3-year-old son.
Together with income from her growing livestock (one pig, three goats, eight rabbits, four turkeys, six chickens, and counting!), Jeanne earns upwards of RWF 20,000 ($20 USD) every month.
By participating in various groups and saving as much as possible, Jeanne’s been able to open a bank account with a local microfinance group. Her long-term plan is to leverage membership in this group to obtain further loans which will allow her to buy her own land, renovate her run-down home, and extend her business.
As a young woman in her community, Jeanne has made it her priority to show neighbouring families, and her husband, that if they want to shift from a life of poverty to a community of wealth they need to work hard and restrain their alcohol intake.
Thanks to FH intervention and conflict management training, Eric is now more involved with their farm and livestock, and Jeanne is so thankful! He’s helping ensure food is on the table, medical insurance is paid, and clothes are in the dresser. Though his active participation in family life is not yet where she would like it, Jeanne is grateful for the increased peace in their home.
“I say thank you very much to the FH staff who oversee our vulnerability in the community through home visits, trainings, good guidance, and advice. I have got a lot of support from you and I praise God for your presence in the community.”
Jeanne is a young woman who started a new family in difficult circumstances and in poverty, yet has chosen to embrace an activist mindset of a change agent in her community. She’s a natural leader and a model to emulate. She teaches others by example, sharing and working with neighbours to improve their agriculture, and their lives.
Want to help more young women like Jeanne plant gardens that will grow into thriving businesses? Check out Feeding Families!
|Jeanne threshes the bean harvest with her neighbour—many hands make light work!|