Emmanuel seated alongside his wife and children

Promoting self-reliance through mindset change

Emmanuel, 36, is a father of four children who lives in Gatsibo District in the Eastern province of Rwanda. He narrates how the life of his family has considerably changed since he joined the “Hinduka Wigire" group. This group was created in December, 2019 after members were trained by World Vision's Ingobyi programme.

The father of five often had arguments and misunderstandings with his wife due to poverty; which later caused the wife to leave her home and go back to her parents. She left Emmanuel with the four children. It was very hard for him to feed the children; he used to cultivate for people and earn $0.62 in order to feed his family. At that time, it was quite a challenge for him to retrieve some money from the $0.62 earned and make savings for his family. The $0.62 was barely enough for his family because he did not work all the days of the week.

“Sometimes the children or I would fall sick. I had no one else to help me with the children so I would not go to work. It was very hard for me to find food for them. The children started getting malnourished due to improper feeding,” Emmanuel narrates. “Before joining the group, my children were suffering from malnutrition because I was not able to feed them with a balanced diet.”

World Vision's Ingobyi programme provides entrepreneurial trainings to people under poverty categories 1 and 2 –of which Emmanuel was part– in order to equip them with skills and knowledge that they need to empower themselves. The training's aim was to help participants to change their mindset and work together for sustainable development. Trainees then formed a savings group where everyone saved according to his or her ability. Emmanuel's group gathers on a weekly basis to save money, and also use the opportunity to discuss on the welfare of the group members.

Through their weekly meetings, the group realised that Emmanuel had been missing for three weeks. They tried to reach out to him through his neighbours, and came to learn that Emmanuel’s two children where sick and that he was struggling with taking them to hospital and finding food for them. The group members then gathered some foodstuffs amongst themselves and went to his home. They were saddened by the situation they found him in. The children had signs of malnutrition and the roof and walls of the house they lived in were leaking.

The group took up the initiative to build Emmanuel another house. They put together efforts and built the house, with the Ingobyi programme providing iron sheets for the roofing and doors. They also visited Emmanuel’s wife and encouraged her to come back and take care of her family. She eventually accepted to come back home.

“I thank God for the Ingobyi programme and my group members. If it had not been for their help, I would be dead by now," Emmanuel adds.

Emmanuel’s family has recently been reunited. He and his wife are working together towards the well-being of their family, and their children’s situation has greatly improved. His wife Chantal says that she had decided to leave her home because her husband was not helping her find food for the family. The two resolved the problems that were between them for the well-being of their children and now they are helping each other in parenting and also feeding their children.

Through his savings group, Emmanuel plans to pay his family’s medical insurance when the group does its share out. Emmanuel, like many other members of his group appreciate World Vision for teaching them how to 'catch fish' for themselves.

The Ingobyi programme is a five-year programme aimed at increasing equitable access to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health and malaria services in targeted districts. It has a component of savings for transformation groups which helps the beneficiaries to pay for their medical insurances on time.