In developing countries, like Rwanda, children from the poorest households are four times as likely to drop out of school than those from more financially stable households. In addition to the factors above, gendered labor division in households also has been said to have a negative impact on the ability of girls to access education. In Rwanda, The National Education for All evaluation confirms that girls are more likely to dropout than boys due to the traditional belief that girls are better at household chores than boys.
Nyirarukundo Olive is a 19-year-old girl who was forced to drop out of school due to the challenges of poverty and gender labor division in her family. Olive had just finished her primary education and was ready to embark on her secondary education. Instead, she dropped out of school in order to support her family.
My day-to-day would look different depending on the day. I would walk around trying to find farming work. If I was lucky, I would get a gig that would pay around 1,000 RWF ($1 USD). Other times I would walk all day looking for work but return emptyhanded because I wasn’t lucky that day.
The last couple of years, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has been an important component within the Rwandese policy to end poverty. With the help of World Vision's teams in Rwanda, Olive’s was given the opportunity to attend Mpanda TVET school in Ruhango District, World Vision paid for her tuition.
She spent a year studying tailoring. After she completed her studies she secured a paid internship, where she gained valuable work experience. “With the income I made from my internship, I was able to rent a [sewing] machine and I started my own business. My average income now is around 20,000 RWF (about $20 USD). I am so grateful. Not only am I financially independent, I have also paid for my family’s health insurance,” she says.
Olive has big hopes for her future, since she has a steady source of income, she is saving to buy her own sewing machine and create a cooperative of women that sew together. “I want to be able to encourage other young girls in my community and to be in a position to hire them and give them the opportunities that I was blessed with,” she says.
Olive’s hope is or her business to be sustainable and that it would lift her and her neighbors out of poverty, even after World Vision's programmes phase-out of her community.
Words will never be enough to express my gratitude to World Vision and their partners who helped change my life.