Updated: Jun 11, 2019
My name is Rose Muhawenimana, I was born in 1974. I am married and I am a mother of eight children. All my children go to school as the Government of Rwanda has a policy of Free Education for all children. We do not pay any school fees for our children but we still have to provide for uniforms, books and food. The Kibeho Embroidery Project has contributed a lot in providing for the secondary expenses to enable my children attend school. Before the Project, my children were beggars. I was not able to enrol all my children to school despite the free education system as I was not able to provide for uniforms and books. Today, all my children go to school thanks to the Kibeho Embroidery Project.
My family belongs to the Batwa People and we suffered a lot of discrimination due to poverty we lived in. Traditionally, Batwa people lived on making pots but these cannot generate a good enough income. A pot sales for 200 Rwandan Francs which is equivalent to USD 2.2 dollars. Kibeho, being a small town does not bring enough customers for us to be able to sale a meaningful quantity of pots that can generate income for us. There is a need to diversify the kind of pots we make in order to get customers. Rwandan Pilgrims would be attracted to buy flower pots but it is 4 hours’ drive from Kibeho and this is again a challenge for us. We do not possess our own land to cultivate and I was making a living by working the field for my neighbours and this was not paying well.
Since I joined the project, my income has increased as I am paid per the number of bags I make per month. I am now respected by my neighbours and I am no longer looked down or stared at when walking. I have become an ordinary person because I am able to dress properly. I participate in the monthly Umuganda and all social events. I am no longer chased away as people feel comfortable with me as I am now presentable to them.
The challenge we face in the project is that sometimes we do not get the fabric on time and have to wait for the fabric to come from South Africa to Rwanda. It would be better to estimate the number of fabrics we need per year and deliver the stock at the beginning of the year so that we do not interrupt our work.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Netty Butera, Project initator, Janet Van Der Merwe, Rossinah Maepa and Dorah Hlongwane for the training they provided to us. The same goes to Father Jean Hagumamahoro who is always taking time to ensure we are paid on time and for his valuable advice to us in terms of working efficiently as a group. We feel very much supported by the Parish since Father Jean Hagumamahoro became the Parish priest.