Duterimbere can be loosely translated as ‘let’s develop’ and is an association that has shifted scores of women from grass to grace. It is playing a major role in building the nation by availing high income generating projects to the mothers of this nation.
The New Times reporter, Patience Uwitonze talked to members of the association and here is the story. Ecerpts:
During one of my usual movements to town, I recently saw a queue of around one hundred women standing as if they are waiting to be served. This was unusual to me and I had to find out from the horse’s mouth.
So I disembarked from a taxi to see for myself what really was going on. To my surprise some of the women told me that they were there to get assistance from an association called Duterimbere. Curiosity grew the more and I had to come close to the women.
After I introduced myself to them, one Mukeshimana told me what it was all about; "our association is in all parts of the country. The women you see around the association’s premises are those from Kigali and its outskirts".
Mukeshimana goes on to say that Duterimbere association is aimed at fighting poverty among women by awakening them to start income generating activities so that they are able to help their husbands in catering for the family.
"You know women who contribute less to the family have no say at all, they are not given the voice to say something by their husbands simply because they contribute nothing to their family. We have found out that such women are many in number and that is why we have called them to join this association so that they are helped," says Mukeshimana.
Duterimbere is a nonprofit making association that began twenty years ago, in 1985, by a group of 29 women with a mission of helping women grow into great entrepreneurs by giving them loans and necessary assistance like trainings in the fields selected to start business.
It deals with training and entrepreneurship with ideas on how women can get the required knowledge of creating well organized enterprises.
"This organization has helped and is still helping women’s entrepreneurship in order to contribute to the improvement of living conditions of Rwandan women with low income and especially those who are not economically active are expected to benefit", says cadet Uwase one of the members of the Duterimbere association.
In order to come closer to women, this association opened offices in 1996 in the whole country and gave loans for different families. The saving habits in Kigali residents for example, have increased satisfactorily.
Many people agree that women are devoted to work in many ways but they have constraints, mostly, of the general knowledge in entrepreneurship and business management.
So far Duterimbere association deals with saving and credit giving only. It further focuses on counseling and training of women entrepreneurs in the whole country so that they can benefit from loans offered by microfinance societies and banks in the country. This is expected to increase their incomes.
Charlotte Mukarugira is one of the beneficiaries from the Duterimbere association and she had this to comment:
"I began with a very small business immediately after the 1994 genocide. I remember very well that I began by selling four litres of milk that a friend had given me to drink. By then I lived with a friend who was housing me" recalls Mukarugira.
She adds that," After I had got the 800 francs from the past sell, I went and bought more milk and business seemed to be growing. Surprisingly a friend realized that I needed more money to start selling milk and gave me 20,000 francs to expand my business. It’s during this time that I met a woman who led me to join Duterimbere association because she was already in that association.
I attribute my success to Duterimbere association and Inkundamahoro cooperative because they helped me with the training and a loan. These organizations have helped me so much. I also attribute my success to hard work and consistence in good planning", acknowledges the lady.
She encourages all women in different cooperatives to work hard and plan big because these associations are there for them.