Rwanda: Elina’s Onion Business
This month our country of focus is Rwanda, where World Vision’s Strong Women, Strong World initiative is assisting women, particularly those impacted by conflict, AIDs and HIV, with vocational and business training. The following story was contributed by Charles Rwomushana.
Meet Elina. Elina is a 34 year old mother of 3 children who lives 30 minutes east of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. She is a micro-entrepreneur who initially started by selling fruit. She later stopped the fruit selling business due to increased competition. She then opened a vegetable business selling onions in the market, over 16 years ago. Her business struggled for many years, until in 2008 she approached World Vision to apply for a loan through VisionFund, the microfinance arm of World Vision.
Her initial loan was US $1,000 which she used to expand her business to become a wholesaler. Now, with her monthly profits estimated at US $400, Elina uses her business to contribute to her family’s welfare: providing food, paying school fees for the children and affording medical insurance. Beyond that, her dream was to own a house one day.
“Before I took the loan… I could not afford to buy land and build a house.” That changed through World Vision, and her dreams began to be realized. “After I joined VisionFund, and my business grew, I bought land and built a house with running water and electricity,” said Elina. This achievement only increased Elina’s hope and now she dreams of opening a restaurant.