Charlotte Mutuyimana, 27 years, lives in Mabare cell, Rukomo sector, Gicumbi district in the Northern Province of Rwanda.
The family of Charlotte joined SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda in 2018 through the Family Strengthening Program implemented in Rukomo sector.
At that time, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda initiated a program to support youth from vulnerable families with TVET education. Charlotte selected the trade of tailoring.
“We have been admitted in the Family Strengthening program because our family was so poor to an extent that we were only able to afford one meal per a day, my parents were not able to pay school fees or school materials,” explained Charlotte.
Charlotte decided to learn tailoring with the aim to start a small business after the training. “I decided to learn tailoring because I wanted to do something that would help me to earn money. This is why I also joined the village saving and lending association (VSLA) to start some savings for my future business.”
Charlotte started saving Rwf 200 the first year and took a loan after saving several months. “I took a loan of Rwf 100,000 to purchase a tailoring machine and started a tailoring business in Rukomo center, three kilometers from home. I increased my saving share from Rwf 200 to Rwf 500. When the Government of Rwanda encouraged Rwandan to wear masks to prevent COVID-19 transmission, I started tailoring face masks. Each day, I earned Rwf 6,000.”
Charlotte was able to earn a lot of money through tailoring facemasks. With her new income, she bought a land plot worth Rwf 600,000. She is married for two months and lives with her husband in their own house.
Charlotte said: “Women have a great strength of mind. A man may have greater physical strength, but when it comes to mental strength, he is no match to a woman.
Even today she is receiving many orders from citizens of Rukomo sector to tailor face masks.