GATSIBO – Scores of youth operating taxi-moto business in Gatsibo District say it have uplifted their livelihoods, thanks to financial support from micro-finance institutions.
At least 80 members of ‘Cooperative des Jeunes Pour le Transport sur les Motos acquired loans, which they invested in various self-help initiatives.
“Prior to becoming a motorcyclist, I was a shoe repairer. To be honest, this was a job that could not even earn me Rwf 1,000 a day. But, later, I joined this cooperative and was able to get a motorcycle,” said Godfrey Rugwera.
He said, through the cooperative, he acquired a loan worth Rwf 700,000 which he used to buy a motorcycle. He was required to service the loan in two years.
“Surprisingly, after concentrating on the new business, the loan was serviced in just nine months. As we talk now, the motorcycle is fully mine…It has helped me construct a house; I am a married man with a healthy family,” says Rugwera.
“Before working with banks, people would always scare me that once you acquire a loan in a bank, I risked losing even the little property I had upon failure to service the loan.
“I want to truly tell fellow youth that once you commit yourself to doing something profitable, there is no way you can fail to service the loan,” says Rugwera who talked of his plans to open a retail store as his next business.
Theoneste Masengesho, another member, is also happy that his life has changed for the better.
“At first, I was a casual farmer…but after realising that there was a better earning in the business, I joined this cooperative and acquired a loan to buy a motorcycle. I have since constructed two houses and I am able to raise tuition fees for my siblings, without difficulty,” he said.
Aloysius Rwabarinda, the president of the cooperative, told The New Times that through working with banks, the youth in the district have excelled in various ways.
“They can testify this to everyone that life has really changed. Most of them have homes…those who were not yet married have families and cannot fail to provide health insurance for their families,” he said.