The women’s Economic Empowerment Program, a pilot initiative of the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland was initiated in Nyamagabe District covered by the Catholic Diocese of Gikongoro.
The program that is being realized in Rwanda’s Southern Province has over 20 teenage mothers who are provided with startup tool kits to support their chosen venture including dressmaking, and hair dressing among other vocational skills.
The package for those enrolled in the program include tuition fee for the various vocational programs as well as meals and any other necessities for training.
Laetitia Mukamana, a 26-year-old mother of two, is a beneficiary of the program. In the November 22 report, Ms. Mukamana narrates how she struggled to provide for her two children before her life was transformed by the Trócaire project.
“I struggled to feed my two children because their father did not give me any financial support and our living conditions got worse,” Ms. Mukamana is quoted as saying.
She adds, “I attended the training program for six months and was given the opportunity to join a dressmaking company as an intern. Having realized my ability, the owner offered me space and a sewing machine in her workshop which I rent.”
“I get orders from clients who like my designs and I use the money I earn to feed my children, pay school fees and medical insurance,” the mother of two says, and adds, “In the past my children were not going to school because I could not afford uniforms. Now … my living condition has changed completely.”
Ms. Mukamana’s story is not unique, the leadership of Trócaire says, and adds, “Child pregnancies, linked to poverty and limited access to sexual reproductive health information, are common in Rwanda.”
As for 22-year-old Delphine from Kitazigurwa village, the Trócaire project has come in handy in enabling her further her career in hairdressing after dropping out of school due to pregnancy.
“It would have taken me years to earn enough money to buy the hairdressing equipment. Getting this equipment means that I will progress my career soon,” Delphine says, and adds, “We will also use the tool kits provided by the empowerment program to train and employ fellow girls in our community. I thank Duterimbere ONG and Trócaire for providing us with this support.”