Victoire and her seven children were not having it all rosy; life was tough for them. Her husband was imprisoned for over 12 years, and she single-handedly had to care for and provide for her family for over a decade, while her husband was still in jail.
It felt like Victoire and her family were lying in a bed of thorns.
“My family sometimes would go a day without a meal. Paying school fees for the children, getting them clothes, feeding them was difficult for me”, she narrates.
The 53-year-old mother of seven is married to Vincent who had been imprisoned, leaving Victoire no other option but to do her best and make ends meet for her family. Victoire was lucky enough and received capacity-building from World Vision, which empowered her to ably take care of her children even during the absence of her husband.
Together with other people in her community, Victoire participated in several trainings which included financial literacy, savings for transformation, and agriculture among others. Although all the trainings were helpful to Victoire, the Empowered World View training was the most significant because it helped her realise her potential. She then changed her mindset and started believing in herself.
“It felt like waking up from sleep”, shares Victoire.
Victoire joined a savings group, and from that moment, increased her savings and then got a loan from the group to start a small business. She was then able to open up a shop. After a year when the group shared out, Victoire stocked up more supplies in her shop.
She also started buying livestock which she would resell and get profit. Through her business, she was able to put a perimeter fence around her home, and also bought a gas cooker to ease her cooking.
“I would go back home and practice everything they would teach us during the trainings. Today, everyone in my neighbourhood admires my achievements”, Victoire says with a smile.
Victoire also invested some money in agriculture to support her business. Last season she harvested over 2,000 kilograms of maize and 3,000 kilograms of beans. All the proceeds she got from her farm where brought to her shop for sell.
She is now a role model in her community. Victoire constantly gives advice to other women on how they can be empowered like she was. Currently, she follows up over 17 savings groups on daily basis. She gives them advice on how to prevent COVID-19 as well as empowering them on developmental work.
She also gives them business tips on how they can start small and grow. “I did not want to develop alone. I wanted everyone around me to able to do something that would increase their income”, notes Victoire.
Vincent returned home from prison in 2018. His children had all grown up and some of them had already gotten married.
“I was so happy to see how my wife had worked hard and taken good care of the children and herself. All the worries I had about how I would manage were erased by what my wife had achieved”, says a proud Vincent.
He started helping his wife with managing the shop while the wife concentrated on the agriculture part. Victoire successfully stepped in and solely took care of her family while her husband was detained for 12 years.
On the occasion of this year's International Women’s Day, Victoire applauds all women like her who have conquered fear.
“I realised that women also have capacity because of the inner resources have within them”, she concludes.