Epiphania Musabyemariya and her husband are a successful business couple as they buy and raise livestock in their small village in the south of Rwanda. Their nine children are well feed and are all attending school, but this was not the way things where before Epiphania joined an AEE self-help group (SHG), which was made possible by Help a Child.
As Epiphania learnt about how to save and borrow money at the same time as her weekly savings to the group savings account mounted up she was unsure what she could do with a loan from the SHG. She decided that the major problem that her family faced was not having access to running water in their house, so with a 150,000 RWF ($180 US) she was able to get the water pipes into the house and use a little to buy thing that could be sold in her shop. She slowly paid back the loan with the profits from the village shop she owned and run as well as buying a tap and value for the previously fitted water pipe, bringing the water to the house is an amazing achievement.
After routing the water pipes into her home, Epiphania took another loan to invest in buying and selling bulls. First, she bought one bull that she later sold for 200,000 RWF ($240 US) and used the money to buy two others. A few weeks later she sold one of them for 120,000 RWF ($144 US) to pay for children’s school fees and family’s health insurance. She is continuing to buy and sell cows as a way to generate income.
Epiphania says she and her husband were uncertain when they first joined the self-help group but were later motivated by the training of an AEE staff who encouraged them to save and take small loans to invest in small projects like animal rearing and selling so that they may develop economically “it worked like they told us, it seemed like things were improving, we were progressing financially.’
Epiphania said she no longer relies on her husband for everything: “Before, life was hard for me. If I needed soap, I’d ask my husband for it; even salt, I’d ask my husband. But now, I never ask him for soap or salt. You see the small items I am selling there, I get money for such things from them. So, it has made my life very easy.”
Epiphania who serves as model for her neighbours is happy for them because they are members of the AEE groups too. She is grateful to see her community growing together with everyone involved either in a business of selling animals, crops or owning a shop. All of her close neighbours now grown nutritious vegetables in their kitchen gardens after they saw her harvesting from her home garden.
Although she is worried that the lack of water in her region could be a threat to the gardens and especially to the animal rearing businesses. Epipahnia has managed to find temporal solutions but they didn’t last and she’s hopeful a long-lasting solution will be found for the water problem in her region. “For instance, I have a water tap but it has been at least a month since we had water in the tap. There is a place I had decided to construct my own cistern by digging a hole and putting a plastic sheeting inside; and now the plastic has a tear and the water just runs through.” She said