Rwanda: Celine's Business

Celine in her shop. Photo: World Vision

Celine in her shop.
Photo: World Vision

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.

While access to education is considered by most people as one of the ways to alleviate poverty and the door that opens up many dreams, often financial constraints hamper those dreams in poor families such as Celine Kanzayire’s. Celine dreamed of becoming a lawyer until she was forced to drop out of school due to lack of sufficient resources.

Shortly after her marriage, Celine decided to overcome poverty by starting a microenterprise, and she started a market in 2007, in her home town of Kabuga, Rwanda. Celine’s business, like many others in her town, struggled to establish itself. “I started my business with very small capital and things were difficult,” she said. However, when she learned of Vision Finance Company – a microfinance institution of World Vision Rwanda in her town in 2009, her hope was rekindled.

“When Vision Finance Company came, I decided to go there and apply for a loan, which they gave me and I expanded my business.” She received a loan of US$ 1,000 which nearly tripled her business capital. With the new capital, she expanded her business and added new products, including selling phone cards for two telecom companies. Today Celine’s business is not only helping the family to survive, but also gain new hope and dreams. She is able to contribute to the family’s medical insurance and send her 3 children (two sons and a daughter aged 13, 10 and 9 respectively) to school. “The profit from my business helps me to buy food, medical services, and pay school fees for my children.”

Celine’s estimates her monthly profit at US$ 200, and with the business continuing to grow she sees her dream of becoming a lawyer reviving soon. “I dropped out of school with a dream to become a lawyer, so I am currently saving money to be able to resume my studies and keep my business running at the same time.”

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