Patricia Musengimana, her husband and their 6 children where traditional subsistence farmers, which means that their only source of income and food must come from their small plot of infertile land. From this land they struggled to find enough food to feed themselves, let alone income to purchase medical coverage or clothes. This is how they lived and struggled before joining a self-help group with AEE Rwanda with help from KNH.
Through this self-help group Patricia and the fellow women received training on business management and development, entrepreneurship, saving and loan management. As each member saved 100RWF ($0.12 US) per week their communal savings increased and with their training and knowledge increasing the SHG members started to borrow money to start small businesses. Patricia decided to start a small business in her village selling the popular sorghum beer, to do this she borrowed the 5,000 RWF ($6 US) capital needed. The interest rate which is agreed upon by the SHG members for this loan and the other loans borrowed was 12,000 RWF ($14 US) per month, which she paid and had the loan paid back within the three months.
With the working capital, she had she was able to see one jerrycan of sorghum bear per week, once the first loan was paid back she increased her borrowing to 20,000RWF ($24 US) which allowed her to double the amount of beer she could sell as well as adding extra items like bananas, andazi (donut like pastry) and beans. With this business, Patricia is able to generate 45,000 RWF ($54 US) profit per month.
With this profit life has started to change for Patricia and her family, her children can now attend school as the fees and school materials can be covered. The family now has medical insurance which reduces the cost for them to access medical needs. The food they are eating has increased and their health, nutritional status and hygiene have all improved. Patricia says “All this is because of my decision to join the self-help group”