"I am glad that I have contributed in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in my community but also made money!", said Violette proudly.

Violette Mushimiyimana is a young girl aged 23 years old, living in Gahengeri sector, Rwamagana district in Eastern province of Rwanda. She and her 5 siblings were raised by only their mother in miserable life conditions.

“In 2013, I dropped out school when I was in Ordinary level year 2 of nine years basic education, my mother could not afford the materials and school fees for me. The life was very tough, as I was the first child in my family, I had to sacrify my studies and help my mother to get a living for my siblings.

She continued, in 2019, I heard from my neighbors that there is a program coming in our community supporting the vulnerable children. I was reached and screened for eligibility and lucky enough, as a dropout for 6 years, I was enrolled in DREAMS Program that supports Adolescent Girls and young Women (AGYW) in Rwamagana District among others," said Violette with a smile on her face.

Violette is currently a DREAMS beneficiary under USAID Turengere Abana Program implemented by FXB Rwanda and is receiving various services including Sexual Reproductive Health, life skills, HTS service, HIV/STIs/GBV prevention services and economic empowerment interventions among others. Violette was supported to attend vocational training to acquire tailoring skills at BUTAMWA TVET School and has successfully graduated.

I was supported to follow my dream profession, I’m currently a recognized tailor in my community. Right after the graduation from TVET, the program has supported us with internships and business development trainings. We were lucky to also be given start up kits and together with my colleagues we have started a new tailoring business in our community / Gahengeri Sector, Violette revealed.

As COVID-19 pandemic has become a big challenge globally, most of program beneficiaries involved in tailoring (including Violette and her colleagues) have oriented their businesses in the production of face masks which has a high demand specifically in Rwanda since April 2020 when the government of Rwanda announced that face masks must be worn in public.

As one way to support our community and also making money, we have focused much in producing locally affordable face masks and we are now among the best suppliers of face masks in our community.

The program has linked us to market where we are currently producing face masks for more than five schools. In addition to the schools, we are distributing the face masks to the rest of community and they are satisfied and proud to wear our masks and they usually link us to other clients including their family members, friends, neighbors and all, proudly said Violette.

With my business, I can afford all my basic needs and family ones! I regularly attend safe space activities with a DREAMS mentor, I am empowered enough to prevent HIV infection! I’m very grateful for USAID and DREAMS program as they brought joy in my life; the whole family is happy now! Concluded Violette.