It’s now close to two years since the onset of COVID-19. Many businesses were affected, some people lost their jobs, and others spent a long time without work. Due to the effects of COVID-19, many families were also drawn apart. On the contrary, Francoise gained even more respect and love from her husband and family.
Francoise is a 34-year-old mother of four children in Rusizi District, a district that is at the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her husband is a taxi driver. In the past, she used to be a housewife who only waited for her husband to bring food home. Although her husband was working, he wasn’t able to provide everything for the family.
“We would always pay our children’s fees late because my husband was the only one working”, says Francoise. She was never comfortable with depending on her husband; depending on him for everything made her feel helpless to her family. So she started looking for a business idea to support her family.
Francoise started learning hairdressing from a friend. She started braiding people’s hair in her neighbourhood and would be paid a small amount of money. She then joined a Village Savings and Lending Association (VSLA) so that she could also be able to save and start a small business.
“I did not start with anything; my hands were my capital. My hairdressing business developed until I was able to rent my place to work in”, says Francoise.
Through World Vision’s Creating Off-farm Rwandan Enterprises (CORE) Project, Francoise received capacity-building in project management and also connected to Réseau Interdiocésain de Microfinance (RIM). She received a loan from the microfinance worth Rwf 2,700,000 ($2700), and pays back only 30% of the loan while the remaining 70% is a grant from World Vision.
“I am proud to be providing employment to the youth in my community. I have four employees in my saloon whom I pay. They get money to also sustain themselves and their families”, says Francoise.
Due to COVID-19, borders were closed and Francoise’s husband spent some time without work. Francoise supported the family through that period. She is proud to have gained her husband’s love and trust. The husband knows that all she has now is through the work of her hands. There is joy on her face as she narrates the story of her journey to owning a business. It was a dream come true for her.
Francoise proudly visits her children’s school and supports them with school materials, not having to depend on her husband. She is proud to be contributing to her family’s well-being and paying her bank loan.
“On a monthly basis, I can get Rwf 90,000 ($90) net profit after paying all my expenses”, concludes Francoise.