This is Francine A graduated USAID Turengere Abana beneficiary who now has a shop thanks to joining its Internal Saving and Lending Group (ISLG).
Francine Umutesi, aged 26 is a graduated DREAMS beneficiary who lives in Nyanza District, Mukingo Sector. When she gave birth in 2015, her family and friends abandoned her. Because I was left alone, I felt like there was no good person that exists, says Francine
Francine was enrolled in DREAMS Program in 2018 as a teen mother and immediately enrolled in Internal and saving group with her fellows. “At the start I felt like I had to leave the saving group because I could not find money to save but program mentor continued encouraging me that even staying with others is a great asset. By that time, I was saving 120 RwF per week. One month later, I decided to borrow 5,000RwF in saving groups and started selling avocados and bananas.”
Later the program provided funds to the saving and lending groups as a support to their savings, where each one was given Rwf 50,000 ($50). ” With this support, my capital was increased and was able to lend more money that I used to trade chickens. With this new IGA, my weekly savings shifted from 120rwF to 500rwF per week. Since then, my life and that of my child began to improve. My child had malnutrition and by this time I managed to get some eggs and other nutritious food which resulted in having him recovered," added Francine.
In 2019, members of that saving group were graduated from the program, but they continued doing their regular savings. As she had seen the importance of saving, she joined other two different saving groups in her community. “In addition to showing us how we should think outside of the box, the program also taught us about reproductive health, life skills HIV and GBV prevention. It made me realize how much I needed to take care of myself as a girl, learn to socialize with others and how I should take various decisions around my life.” Francine said this with a joyful face.
Now Francine owns a grocery store, a farm, cattle, and made her family proud. I thank the USAID Turengere Abana DREAMS program, which has opened my eyes. Even if others might abandon you, do not be discouraged or feel loneliness. Socializing and being with others is priceless as you are able to make good friends, learn a lot from them, and fight for your growth due to taking good example from others who do successful projects. Francine shares key lesson from her journey to other fellows whose life situation is like hers.
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