AEE and Help a Child have been partnering together in the Bugesera district of Rwanda and the changes that have happened to the youth who have been part of this is remarkable.
Francois Nshimiyimana is a 22-year-old who joined a Self-Help Group (SHG) three years ago, he says about his life at the time he joined “Basically, it was as if there was a blinding wall in front of me, with no thoughts; just living for today without planning for tomorrow.” He joined a SHG with other teenagers and together they received education and training in business topics such as entrepreneurship and saving. The group together started a small chilli farm and this small business was not enough for Francois, he had his eyes set on bigger and more lucrative endeavours. After the first harvest of chillies (which are sent to the U.K.) he used his part of the profits to buy two young goats and raise them before selling them again. This gave him a working capital of 50,000 Rwf ($60 US) and with a loan from the SHG of 20,000 ($25 US) he was able to start his own small shop in his village. There was only one other shop in the village but he is proud to now say that his shop is the biggest.
Even though he is still living at home he is able to generate 50,000 Rwf ($60 US) per month in profit which he uses to support himself and his parents.
This is not the end of the road for Francois, he dreams of opening a bigger shop in the town and be able to buy directly from the suppliers instead of having to buy smaller amounts from the middle men, which costs a lot more.
He appreciates what has been given to him through AEE and Help a Child and hopes the next generation of youth get the same training and exposure to what he has been given so that they too can make dreams