By Zuberi Bihangamanywa
After the death of her husband, Seraphine had to find a way to provide for herself and her five children. As a housewife, she had been busy caring for the children and running the household while her husband provided financially for the family. Apart from agricultural work, she had no work and very little income. Not having a decent income also meant that she could not access any credit or loans.
Now a member of Ingobokarugo Cooperative in Shyogwe sector, Seraphine is able to use the income she gets from weaving products she sells to Azizi Life, such as earrings, bracelets, and woven bowls, to help cover the everyday costs of raising a family – from health insurance to school fees. Seraphine says:
“Before we met Azizi Life, we’d make our items and get a small amount of money – it wasn’t enough. Thankfully, right now the price for my craft is high and helpful. I am the only one in charge of the family and I can now pay for school fees and pay farmers to help me work on my land. I also managed to build another house in addition to the one my husband left us. I added a compound and a gate.”
As an Azizi Life Experience Day host, Seraphine hosts foreign visitors in her home as they get a glimpse into rural Rwandan life. “I am proud to host people from abroad,” she said. The benefit of additional income from the Experience Days as well as from the sale of her crafts doesn’t end with Seraphine; because she can afford to hire workers to help her on her land, they, in turn, can access credit – “[lenders] have faith in them to pay money back because they have work.”
Seraphine wishes to keep moving forward in her life and also wants to inspire others in difficult situations. She wants to see her children graduate.
“I will be so proud, knowing that I have helped my children have an education and having done it with my own hands. I get this hope whenever I look at how far I’ve come in six years.”
When asked what advice she would give to others, she said:
“People should not always wait for their problems to be solved by others but instead stand up and work. Many women, when they become widows, think their life has turned upside down. It is time to be strong mothers and give a good example to our children. If you are willing to change your life even God will bless you in many ways.”