Médiatrice Tuzasingizimana, 41, is a member of Duterimbere (a women’s empowerment organization) since 2000,she is married with three children living in Nyamagabe district. She completed her education in technical skills and has vast experience in micro income generating trades.
After graduating in technical school she has worked as a social worker with disabled persons, as a teacher and a market vendor but all of which were a failure in terms of business and her life was not any better as a housewife.
Since all these jobs were fruitless and didn’t improve her life, she decided to go back on the drawing board, and reflected on what career she can take in order to improve her life. She consulted her spouse and they decided that she uses her education to start on drycleaner shop in town.
With the help of her husband supported she was able to get initial capital to buy equipment such as an ironing table and a charcoal flat iron and rent a shop space.
“I started on scratch and it was hard at the time, but we looked around and discovered that this kind of business was not existent in Nyamagabe. Sine I had had some technical training, we both agreed to start up a drycleaner joint. The most important driving aspect was the support from Duterimbere- who supported me in the management of the project.
Today, Tuzasingizimana runs a successful drycleaner and shoe sale point business in Nyamagabe town. She says that her life was full of misery and failure in business but her life was turned around on the day she was introduced to the t training in entrepreneurship which was provided by Duterimbere in Nyamagabe district.
“I was living in isolation and I didn’t know that it was possible for a woman to travel outside Rwanda and do business. With the skills in entrepreneurship, I was able to open my world of business and now I can make trade trips to Uganda, unlike in the past” she says.
In her view, the key to success of rural women is to take the first step of overcoming fear, low self-esteem which impeded her from improving her social welfare for years. She advises fellow women to take the same example and learn to work in groups so as to benefit from the support of others in business.
She says that the turning point in her business was the training and the help provided by Duterimbere, “I was lucky to get proper training in my professional work and this has changed my life and mindset towards business management and enabled me to even seek loans, which I really lacked when I started doing business”
She adds that I have been able to gain self esteem, and I no longer depend on my husband for everything. I can pay for health care, education and other family needs unlike in the past when I was completely dependent on my husband”
Though Nyamagabe district is not blessed to have a Duterimbere MFI branch, Tuzasingizimana is able to use other microfinance banking systems to save from her earnings and has managed over the past years to build a house worthy Rwf5millions, send her children to school and afford the daily upkeep of her family.
“I make about Rwf5000 per day and I save half of the money in the bank and the use the rest for family upkeep. I feel that I got dignity in the family and community” she says.
She however wishes to boost her laundry business by acquiring modern dry cleaning equipment which will improve the services she offers to clients. She also asks that the Duterimbere MFI bank is brought closer to the Nyamagabe community so as to empower more women to access loans which will boost their businesses.
“I would like to build my business by purchasing modern electric irons, which are available in Kigali. If I can get support from Duterimbere, to purchase this equipment on a loan, which will be of major boost into becoming more professional at the job”
In her own words Tuzasingizimana says that the government policies of promotion women in development have played a significant role in her life. “I feel so empowered as a woman today, I have my rights and I can contribute to the community. The government support has given a woman value in society.
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