Former vendors get entrepreneurship skills

FORTY-FIVE vulnerable women in Gisozi Sector of Gasabo District, Kigali City, including former street vendors and hawkers, were on Friday handed certificates in hairdressing and cookery.
Some of the women who graduated pose with their certificates in a group photograph. The Sunday Times/G. Mugoya.
Some of the women who graduated pose with their certificates in a group photograph. The Sunday Times/G. Mugoya.

FORTY-FIVE vulnerable women in Gisozi Sector of Gasabo District, Kigali City, including former street vendors and hawkers, were on Friday handed certificates in hairdressing and cookery.

The team that successfully completed a one-year training course courtesy of Aspire Rwanda, are set to work together as cooperatives, according to the graduands.

“I was a hawker in the city, but to be honest, I spent every other day battling with city authorities. But it’s no longer the case. Life changed even before I completed this training,” Reocadia Niyotwagira said shortly after the graduation ceremony.

The mother of three explained that within only three months after starting the hairdressing training, she started getting customers and earning even more than she used to in her previous business.

Niyotwagira pointed out that the number of her customers has been growing ever since, with old customers bringing others.

“People who I do not even know call me, having got my contact from those I have previously worked for,” she said.

Most of the other beneficiaries, said that they never had any skills, adding that what they acquired opens a new chapter in their lives.

These women are identified with the support of local authorities to ensure that the programme benefits the right people. 50 are given the same opportunity annually by Aspire Rwanda.

Experts in both cookery and hairdressing are hired to ensure that skills provided suit the labour market in these fields.

Jean Paul Nteziryayo, the organisation’s project coordinator, said that in addition to empowering women so that they can contribute to the economic growth of their families, the organisation also works in collaboration with Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre (RWAMREC), to offer a wide range of studies to women.

“We consider building the capacity of women in many fields that also include their rights and health issues,” said Nteziryayo.

He called upon graduands to make proper use of the skills so that they can fight poverty and improve their standards of living.

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