Claudette Musabyimana is 19 years old and lives in the Nyamagabe district, which is in the south east of Rw

Claudette cutting hair

anda.  For her the chance of education was cut short at year 8 because their family could not afford to provide the school fees or materials she needed.  Left without chance of education and the potential to find profitable work the future was bleak.  But with the help of AEE Rwanda and KNH things have started to change.

After finding out from her mother (she is a member of an AEE Rwanda Self Help Group (SHG)) that some SHG where starting up focused on the youth, she was happy to join.   In her group of 20 youths, they were trained about saving, use of loans for income generating project, and eventually where given the opportunity to undertake some practical training.  Claudette choose hairdressing and is currently learning and mastering this craft with others from the SHG.  She says “It is so good, I am very hopeful that my life and my family conditions will improve.”  Before the people in her village had to travel 5km to get a haircut but now with the shop open she has noticed that people are looking smarter.  She says “We are contributing to the welfare of this community, children from our village used to have long hair and this uncleanliness caused diseases, but now they are getting cleaner.

The other youth receiving training from their teacher

Now that they have completed their initial training they are able to start to charge for their hair cuts at 150Rwf per cut ($0.20 US) and can cut around 7 peoples hair a day.  With this money, she has been able to purchase a piglet which she is raising to sell (or the babies) as well as provide some financial assistance to her parents by purchasing clothes and food.

Initially her profession was met with some skepticism “People believed that a young girl cannot be a hair dresser, but now they find that girls are able too.”  This knowledge that she can succeed and do this work is a huge boast to her self-confidence.

Apart from Claudette, there are some other young boys and girls who are working with her and they are very optimistic about their future.  Their vision is to work together in a good hair dressing saloon and provide good service to their community but also make money for their development and improvement of their family livelihood.

The photo shows the youth in a group activity. Their group was formed and trained by Icyizere CLA. They meet once a week and save, take loans and implement some income generating activities namely mostly some items in the nearby market. They say that that the group helps them to save their money well and encourage them to work together which builds their unity and social coherence. Some of them used to spend their time wandering here and there but now they meet weekly and save some amount of money they get from doing various part time work.