How Ubudehe changed a man’s life in Ngoma district

Though most people have tried in vain to kick poverty out of their lives; Frecian Harerimana, has a unique story to tell.
Harerimana and his wife with one of their two kids in front of their new house. (Photo/ B. Asiimwe)
Harerimana and his wife with one of their two kids in front of their new house. (Photo/ B. Asiimwe)

Though most people have tried in vain to kick poverty out of their lives; Frecian Harerimana, has a unique story to tell.

In 2005, the government of Rwanda introduced a traditional assistance programme called Ubudehe, which operates in the country’s lower administrative and cell levels.

The project identifies the poorest resident in the cell, who has a well planned project to be funded. The beneficiary should also be capable of utilizing the money constructively to get the best out of it.

A poverty eradication process aimed at improving the well being of Rwandans in poor communities.

The Ubudehe operates under the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) being jointly funded by the Rwandan government and the European Union (EU).

35 year old Harerimana is a resident of the Gatare Cell in Rukira sector Ngoma district, was chosen the neediest in the cell and given Frw50, 000 to fund his project of selling bicycle parts.

He was given the money at a time he could not even imagine it.

Poverty was biting to a point he says by then he could not even afford a pair of trousers, thus felt dehumanized.

“There are days when the world looks like a box, you have no-where to start or to end. You can’t make friends, because they all see you as maybe like an animal, and this is a state I was in by then.”

A sad Harerimana who lost his one leg in 1994 when he stepped on a land mine narrates his ordeal.

He at that time was living in a mud, banana fibre thatched house. The house had a leak with no difference during the rain between being in it and being outside.

For Harerimana the Frw50, 000 Ubudehe money he received in 2005 was his life’s turning point.

Money he used to kick-start a successful bicycle spare parts’ shop; as he was the only one in the whole cell dealing in that field. Being the only one who knew how to repair bicycles in the area, he used Frw10, 000 to buy spanners.

“I was thirsty for work and so I worked tirelessly,” he says, “I worked hard so that I can also be recognized in the public as a man able to earn for himself whatever he desires when given an opportunity.”

Today, Harerimana is a happy man whose dream of a dignified existence has come true. His shop has saved him from a leaking house to a new well built house he bought at Frw20. 000. He has also bought land and a banana plantation.

That is not the end of the list of his blessings, Harerimana also found his life’s partner got married and is blessed with two children.

His shop is now stocked with spare parts worth Frw50, 000 and he hopes before the year ends he will be have increased that to a Frw1million.

The Ubudehe project encourages beneficiaries to re-investment in the community through employment creation and so Harerimana is the proud employer of 15 people.

He offers them training in bicycle repair with eight of his graduates starting their own projects; while ten others pay Frw5000 for lessons in bicycle repair monthly.

“I know the state I was in and helping others where necessary and possible makes me feel good,” says a proud and smiling man.

Harerimana now keeps a balance Frw10, 000 on his account. In the recent awarding of the best performing cells and individuals for the successful implementation of the Ubudehe goals, Harerimana was the fifth in the whole country.

Following his good performance, Harerimana was chosen by the Community Development Fund (CDF) to given Frw200, 000 as a reward which he is yet to receive and perhaps increase further not just his own fortunes but his community’s and country too.

“I sometimes think that maybe I am dreaming but I am what I am today because I could never at any one time think I would ever be where I am.” Harerimana says.

To people who never succeed in their life even when they have been helped but all in vain, Harerimana thinks is because at times they make projects which have no market.

He sees market as the first thing that could be considered for someone thinking of making a business project plan.

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