Until 2003, Esperance Mukangarambe led a miserable life, with no hope of having a daily meal.
But 13 years down the road, the 50-year-old mother of four has achieved more than she ever dreamt about, thanks to business acumen honed over the years.
She recently moved into a Rwf40-million house, on top of acquiring three trucks and a private car.
But Mukangarambe, a resident of Ruhango Cell, Gisozi Sector of Gasabo District, is specifically thankful to the RPF Inkotanyi that she says has been by her side from the time she was a pauper.
“For me and my family to get food, I entirely relied on support from various members of RPF Inkotanyi party to which I belong; I had no sustainable source of income or meal,” she said.
Mukangarambe was on Saturday giving a testimony about her business journey during the general assembly of RPF at the sector level, at the Independent University of Kigali in Gisozi, Gasabo District.
She said her success in business is attributed to the support from the RPF members.
Mukangarambe says her turning point was in 2004 when a female member of RPF gave her Rwf50,000 and tipped her to rent a plot of land that was rich in stones.
This, she says, coincided with a tender that was given to NPD Contraco, a local construction company, which was contracted to pave several kilometres of Kigali roads using stones.
The contract was procured in 2005 and they started getting stones from a quarry on my leased plot.
“I spent the Rwf50,000 on the plot in Runda Sector, Kamonyi Distict, and the woman also loaned me Rwf20,000 that I used to buy two hammers and pick axes that I used to excavate stones,” she says, adding that within a month, she had excavated enough truck-fulls of stones.
“I used to commute from Kamonyi on foot to Kigali where I rented a house of Rwf7,000 a month. I could not afford transport fare,” Mukangarambe says.
Desperate need for loan
NPD COTRACO wanted quality stones to pave Kicukiro-Sontube Road (that stretches from SONATUBE to Gisementi).
“I was lucky because they liked the quality of my stones,” she says.
Mukangarambe was given an opportunity to supply stones toward construction of the road, but she was required to have equipment worth Rwf5 million to enable her work. She had no single penny or even an account with any bank.
“I only had stones and not a single coin, the only thing I banked on was my determination to deliver on this contract,” Mukangarambe says.
She went to a nearby microfinance called ‘Ongera’ to ask for a loan, she told the administrators that she was an entrepreneur who had been awarded a tender, but had no account with any bank.
The microfinance management was surprised but picked interest in her. They dispatched an officer to NPD to confirm if her story.
Then, she was immediately facilitated to open up a bank account and the bank began processing her loan of Rwf4 million.
“The first profit I got from the sales was Rwf2 million and I remember spending sleepless nights counting the money. I wondered whether the money belonged to me,” Mukangarambe says.
She noted that the entire road construction project left her with more than Rwf11 million in total, from which she bought a truck that would help her ferry the stones.
“From then on, my business continued to grow and I now own four trucks and a modern house,” Mukangarambe says.
Mukangarambe says her four children are at university and she does not have to worry about tuition. She has serviced the entire bank loan and encourages other women to venture into business, develop good business plans and work with financial institutions.
John Pius Ruhinda, the RPF chairperson in Gisozi Sector, said RPF is driven by the interest to ensure the welfare of its members and all Rwandans through solidarity and building synergies.
“We want all women and youth to get empowered and work with financial institutions and also embrace working in cooperatives because through working together, everything is possible,” he said.
At the same event, some 126 people including the youth were sworn in as new members of the RPF, and according to Ruhinda, this is a sign that the party is doing good things to promote the welfare of the Rwandan people.