our success stories
URUKUNDO Tailoring Self Help Group
“Urukondo Tailoring Self Help Group (SHG)” that has succeeded against all odds proving that if people come together with one common goal, they can achieve anything they set their minds to. Gatesi Clare who is the president of the group is credited for the initial idea as the founder. Her story is one of true transformation – after receiving training Moucecore gave in her community at her church on having a spiritual, social and economic transformation and how to achieve it, she knew she wanted to put into practice what she had learnt and started by talking to others and engaging them – “We started from nothing, no means but a desire to come out of the extreme poverty we were in; We knew where we were coming from and where we wanted to go. After receiving training from Moucecore, anything was possible. I had a changed mindset” Gatesi Clare.
April 2016, Urukundo SHG was formed; they started meeting weekly, saving a small amount of money and from the savings they bought seeds and decided to start as small scale farmers, cultivating a small plot of land given to them by a group member. They sold the first harvest (cabbage) and received Rwf 140,000. Not entirely satisfied by the progress they were achieving, they decided to think of other small income generating activities they could do, finally deciding on tailoring. It was decided that each member would bring what they could, a scissor, a needle, a sewing machine etc. With 2 sewing machines at hand, the next task was to learn how to sew because most group members did not know how (paying for a trainer), another task being to find fabric materials they could use. Group members would move around to other tailoring shops collecting small mismatched discarded fabric leftovers. Soon after, everything seemed to pick up; all members learnt how to cut, design and make beautiful clothes, hats, bags, and so much more. They soon found a market for their products, selling and buying more sewing machines from the profits.
In two and a half years now, Urukundo SHG has created a name for themselves. Creating full time jobs for 23 members (with working hours, payments, and shares on profits), they have attended and showcased they products around the country in different exhibitions receiving more recognition and offer of market, they have bought more sewing machines (plan to buy more), and continue saving weekly and planning for the future. Their story is story is an inspiring one to all who visit them. They have become an example in their community an example for true transformation. Moucecore staff keeps supporting them by visiting and following up on them.
EPOVAT Case Studies
I married my wife in 2011, but we had nothing to call our own; house, land, livestock, property, nothing. We lived in a small house I rented for 10,000rwf per month, but without a steady job and income I started to fall back on rent. With 4 months worth of rent due and no means to pay, a friend offered me a job – to deliver milk from his farm to a dairy a few miles away. This was a miracle for me because the job paid me well enough to pay my rent, make a living with my small family and manage to save. By 2013, I had saved enough money to buy a small plot of land for 170,000rwf and I started building a small house on that plot of land. In 2015, I remember Albert (Moucecore staff member) came to our community and spoke to us about having a transformed community spiritually and economically. He taught us about working together and joining self help groups and starting small income generating activities. After listening to him, I knew I was a changed man. I joined a self help group (SHG) and spent days without sleeping, just thinking. With many ideas of small projects going through my mind, I decided to start with agriculture.
The first crop I cultivated was sorghum, I sold the first harvest for 300,000rwf and with the money I started growing rice. In January 2015, I bought a bigger plot of land (1 hector) and started growing maize. With the profit I made, I pulled down the house we lived in – the first house I had built and started building a new house. I kept attending my SHG meetings and I would always be keen to learn something else knew; what else I could do within my means. In September 2016, through my SHG I heard about a poultry business. My interest picked, I decided to make another investment and bought chickens that could lay eggs. Like any start of a new project, it was not easy. However, this new project of Poultry started to pay off soon after as well. I started selling eggs and chickens and making small profits. I still had my old job of delivering milk to a dairy, so each day I was not home to pay attention to everything, unfortunately robbers came and stole most of my chickens. This however, prompted me to build a better Poultry house and bought more chickens. I recently sold 40 of them and now I have 100 left (not counting the chicks). Meanwhile I bought 10 cows and gave them to my neighbors to take care of them for me and we could split profits. This would help them and help me too.
By January 2017, I had a steady profit coming in from all my projects. I bought another plot of land of 1,200,000Rwf, where I grow plantains. I have had to hire people to work in my fields, sometimes hiring 40 people at a time in the busy seasons. To manage movements from one place to another, I have bought a motorcycle which most of the time my workers use as well to facilitate their work. I started a small shop/store that sells a few household items. This is where I am able to sell my eggs too (after delivering to my main customers). My wife runs the shop while I am away attending to other needs.
I have attended trainings on modern farming techniques and financial management but I still have a long way to go in learning how to manage what I have and I do realize my energy and investments are divided in many projects small and big. My next project is to buy a truck that can transport crops and seeds for sell to Kigali and other parts of the country. I need to choose wisely where my focus should be. In everything I have been able to achieve, I thank God mostly and ask him to continue blessing me so I can be a blessing for others in the community as well; just as I have been blessed. I ask God to give me wisdom and discernment so that I can continue reaching my goals.
GATARE BEE FARMERS
Moucecore Self help group members in Gatare were facilitated to conduct a study tour visiting a honey processing factor. From the self help groups, a group of few chosen bee farmers visited “Ubwiza bwa Nyungwe beekeepers union” where they learnt how to have a successful business in honey and other related bee products. After the tour of the honey processing and sales center, they briefly learnt about all stages of honey processing methods and techniques, how to increase honey production and later had a group discussion on honey quality control standards, how and where to find market.
“My family kept bees for honey when I was young. My father would bring honey for us, and give some to our neighbors or use it for medicine; until now, I still keep bees for my family. But just like my parents, I never thought about selling honey as a small business, I had no idea one could make candles from honey wax!
When Moucecore offered this opportunity to visit other bee keepers who started like me, I had little or should I say I was not sure what to expect. But now I do feel enlightened and have set goals. I am part of a small group of bee keepers back home. It is important I go back and teach others what I learnt today, because working together will help us achieve more” Rwanyonga Calliope
Over the years, we have learned many important lessons about how to effectively and sustainably bring water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to a community. The key? Raising up local leaders and mobilizing the community to take total ownership of the project.
In the volcanic region of northern Rwanda, there was not a water source nearby, so each day community members walked six hours to reach the nearest lake. But through a mobilization program, women in the community started building water tanks. We partnered with them to start a rain tank project to support and extend the work they started. Within three years, the project had completely ended the water crisis in the area!
With water available, the community turned its focus to improved latrines for healthy sanitation. The rocky soil in the area made traditional pit latrines impossible to construct. So we met with the local water committee to present various solutions. Together, we opted for ecological latrines. These latrines not only improve health through safe sanitation, but also provide compost to allow community members to farm, which the local soil typically makes very difficult.
As the sanitation project advanced, the community joined in to provide local material, labor, infrastructure maintenance, and peer education. Because the community members who would be using the latrines had been trained and involved in the project design, the new techniques were fully adopted. Community members are continuing latrine construction to this day. This is something worth celebrating!
It’s hard to imagine life without water. It’s intertwined with our existence every single day.
Dominah and her children’s lives were changed forever when they received access to clean water for the first time.
Dominah is a single mother of four. Her husband died 10 years ago, and she works hard to make sure her kids are fed. But for the longest time, there was one worry she was helpless against: getting clean water.
The nearest water point was far away, down a steep hillside path. Because the journey took so long, there was no time to fetch water in the morning; instead, the kids would have to go after school. The walk was incredibly difficult (think of an expert-level hike…then add a few gallons of water), and as the children grew tired, they’d drink some of the water they had fetched.
This was problematic because the water they worked so hard to get was contaminated and made them sick, so they ended up in the hospital multiple times each month. And even when everyone was healthy, the water often wouldn’t last through the next morning, which meant Dominah and her children went to work and school thirsty.
Now, we are thrilled to report that, through our partnership with many local community members, Dominah, her children, and 900 of her neighbors don’t have to make that walk. They now have access to safe, clean water in their community!
Could you laugh and carry on a conversation balancing 40 lbs of water on your head for a mile and a half? Bosco goes to GS Kizi Primary School and wants to be a doctor after completing high school. Students like this always have big dreams, but few are lucky enough to complete high school, let alone go on to college and pursue a career of their dreams.
Part of the reason students aren’t able to make it through high school (or even primary school) is because they miss 3-5 days every month from water-related illnesses. Others miss class because they have to walk long distances to get water. Teachers tell us that students often struggle to concentrate in class because they haven’t had anything to drink during an entire morning session.
In these rural conditions, it’s easy to feel powerless. Schools often have 500-1,000 students, and teacher ratios of 50-to-1 and 75-to-1 are not uncommon. In spite of low pay and poor conditions, I’m always amazed by how hard teachers work to benefit their students, making huge sacrifices in their own time and comfort to ensure their students are able to have a good education. These are often the best places to invest in water and sanitation programs, not only because of the impact it can have in a child’s life, but because these teachers are committed to making sure that the work is sustainable. Every time we visit our school programs we listen to student-led health clubs sing songs about good hygiene practice, while teachers proudly show off latrine facilities for boys and girls and newly installed water points. It’s these seemingly small things that have ripple effects across communities and countries.
This year we are helping over a dozen schools have safe water. Bosco’s school is one of them. We are just one small part of his journey, but we hope and pray he is able to realize his dreams.