Creating New Opportunities for Girls
"I am confident that through my work I will one day have enough money to sustainable support my family and myself." Clarissa Ingabire, an 18 year old girl in Rwanda (pictured here). The following story comes from a young woman who is part of Association Tuvuge Twiyubaka, a Firelight grantee-partner in Rwanda. It shows the incredible power of grassroots organizations on the daily lives of young women who often leave school to support their families when times are difficult.
"My name is Clarissa Ingabire and I am 18-years-old. I live with my mother and my three little brothers. My father died of AIDS in 2000 when I was 9 years old. After the death of my father, life began to be increasingly difficult for me. In 2005, my family was tested for HIV/AIDS where we discoved that my mother and two little brothers were HIV positive. My mother began suffereing from asthma attacks and became very weak. Because of her weakened state she could not support our family and I had to leave school, where I was in my third year of high school, in order to care for her and my younger siblings. I soon found work in the trade of food products. I started working in food trade, but the profit was not enough to support my family.
In 2011, I heard about the Tuvuge Twiyubaka organization through the local authorities. After being selected for their programming, I partnered with a group of 20 other girls doing small trade in the Kabacuzi marketplace.
We were educated by Tuvuge on HIV and AIDS, reproductive health, and trained on the management of small income generating projects. Soon thereafter, we were each given small loans to increase our income and expand our business. With the support of Tuvuge Twiyubaka, my income has doubled. This has helped me increase the amount of goods that I can provide for my family.
Tuvuge also took the time to visit us in our homes to assist in any of our problems at home or with our business. They were compassionate and concerned about my situation, and at the end of our visit the Tuvuge organization sent me a message of patience and courage.
Tuvuge has significantly affected my life and has shown me how girls like me are working hard to support their families. The support I received has not only made me financially independent, but it has also helped me overcome the stigma against female workers."
Tuvuge has provided to Clarissa:
- Education on HIV and reproductive health
- Small business training
- The safe space of a group of 20 other girls
- Two months of essential food stuffs for her household
- Emotional support for her and her family
- A source of income for her family and a sense of pride and confidence in her work
Association Tuvuge Twiyubaka is a great example of the impact our 134 grassroots partners make on the ground each day in their communities.
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