Simpuga and his fresh half cakes

Empowered to Thrive

Jean de Dieu Simpuga was employed in a bakery since 2019 until recently. The father of two previously had to travel two hours, every day, to get to the bakery. He worked long hours, leaving the bakery at 9pm. He was often extremely exhausted and would get home close to midnight. It wasn’t safe for him to travel that late and he was afraid. However, he didn’t have a better option as he had to meet the needs of his family.

“I was always worn out and hardly spent time with my family. I would get home while they were asleep and leave at dawn while they were still sleeping. I always wished I would get a better job that wasn’t as draining. I was earning very little money, too, based on the load of work I was doing”, he recalls. Jean de Dieu only brought home $32 a month.

A few years ago, Jean de Dieu joined World Vision’s Empowered World View training, where he gained knowledge and insights that helped him realise his potential and encouraged him to venture into self-employment.  He gained knowledge in financial literacy, savings, being self-reliant, realising and maximising the potential within him, among many other skills.

“Through Empowered World View, I realised I had the skills, experience and potential to start my own business. Since I had been working in someone else’s bakery for a long time, my desire was to start my own bakery. I didn’t think I would be able to get money to start my own business but through World Vision’s training, I learned that I could easily get a loan through the savings group I had joined and the Micro-Finance Institutions that World Vision Rwanda had linked us to,” Jean de Dieu adds.

He  further narrates: …I  requested for  a  loan  of  $43  from  my savings  group,  to  start making  half  cakes (doughnut-like pastries) as my own business. I got the loan from the savings group, and I used the loan to purchase basic materials to kick-start the business. On my first day, I baked 300 half cakes using 25 kgs of flour. My production increased to 600 half cakes on weekly basis. I was able to get ready access to market. I got clients whom I would sell to four times a week. My net profit per week was $13 and I would pay myself $51 per month. I now rest enough and have enough time for my family."


Jean de Dieu and his wife with some of his fresh half cakes
Jean de Dieu and his wife with some of his fresh half cakes


Within a few months, Jean de Dieu increased his capital to $91 and started to produce over 1,000 half cakes per week. His salary has increased to over $100 on monthly basis. He was able to buy a piece of land which he uses to grow food. He saves some money every week and he is able to provide for his children, meeting all their needs.

Jean de Dieu has also trained somebody else in his community who is now also able to earn a living through the same business and provide for his family. He appreciated the THRIVE (Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments) project, noting that through THRIVE he was inspired and empowered to reach milestones he had never dreamed of.