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How local Ngo is boosting resilience of vulnerable women

One of the beneficiaries (left) is handed her certificate during the graduation ceremony. / Photo: Courtesy

Recently, 16 women advanced with skills in sewing after the successful completion of a three-month training at Root Foundation Center in Kigali. The women are from Kinyinya, Gasabo District.

Cheez Muragwa, the executive director of the organisation, says within that period, the trainees gained skills in the trade to start their own ventures.


Aside from tailoring, Muragwa says the women have also been equipped with skills in financial management and product marketing.


Beneficiaries share their story


After Claudette Nyiramana’s husband walked out on her 13 years ago, she felt like her world had collapsed.

With the three kids, the 39-year-old didn’t know where to start as she was solely dependent on her husband.

She looked for odd jobs to survive. It wasn’t easy for her, until her child joined the foundation.

Nyiramana says she was saved from the burden of paying school fees for her first child, and this encouraged her to continue working hard to cater for the remaining kids.

“Because of my child, I was also welcomed to the organisation under the skills development programme which has helped in moulding my life socially, emotionally, and physically as well,” she says.

Nyiramana says with the tailoring skills she gained, she hopes to start a small venture that will see her gain financial stability.

Odette Ntawiha joined the skills development programme in 2016 after two of her children joined the organisation.

The mother of five says she had already started learning how to sew, but didn’t complete due to financial constraints.

When she was invited to join the sewing classes three months ago, she knew it was time to give it her best.

Ntawiha says she is thankful because her children get along well with others in the community, which wasn’t the case before.

“As a single parent, raising children sometimes is overwhelming and it’s easy for them to be rebellious. When my two kids joined the programme, they became morally upright, which I believe is the beginning of success,” she says. 

Emerthe Mujawimana shares her experience, saying after she joined the foundation in 2016, her life has never been the same again.

The 48-year-old says sharing and discussing the challenges they go through with others is helpful to her, and that the good thing is, at the end of the day, they get to find a way to handle and solve the problems.

Mujawimana says at her age, it didn’t cross her mind that she could sit in a class and learn tailoring.

“Before, I considered myself too old to learn anything, but with the help of colleagues, I realised that learning has no end, and here I am with the skills that will help better my life and the children,” she says adding that the impact is already evident. 

The mother of seven says her kids now wear clothes she made herself, something she is proud of as a mother as she this will significantly reduce the burden of clothing. 

About the programme

Root Foundation is a local NGO that works with vulnerable children and mothers in Kigali.

The organisation has three programs; personal development - mainly for the children, the scholarship programme, as well as the skills development programme.

Under skills development, parents are also enlightened on gender-based violence and the rights of children.

Muragwa says when empowered, women are believed to be able to vastly impact their families and society.

He says when women have a stable source of income; their children will not suffer to get basic needs, including education.

“When a woman has means of contributing to the wellbeing of the family, it in one way boosts their confidence. This, in the end, can help prevent cases of gender-based violence that in some cases are caused due to poverty,” he says.

The programme also aims at engaging the mothers so that the relationship amongst themselves remains strong.

For instance, women use the opportunity to form cooperatives that help them with financial support.

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