Success stories of youth economic empowerment project (YEEP) beneficiaries
In 2021, Gaudence Maniriyo was a university student and at the same time working as a youth volunteer. She only relied on a stipend from her volunteering job to survive. Later on, she even stopped going to school due to sickness.
Maniriyo learned about YEEP from Gisozi-based high school students and found the programme interesting. She then applied to join it and fortunately got selected. While there, she acquired different skills concerning how she could start a business as well as the importance of saving. She and fellow YEEP beneficiaries who belong to Itetero family formed a saving group and started saving money. Currently, a member saves a minimum of Rwf500 every week.
Maniriyo says that whenever she encounters an issue that requires financial support, the saving group lends her the money. It has not only grown into a family whose members help each other to move their lives forward but also a safe space.
Upon completing the training through YEEP, Maniriyo secured Rwf 350,000 loan and used it to start a business. Today, she is an agent for MTN Mobile Money at Gisozi, Gasabo District. She repays the loan in instalments every month and affords to get basic needs (such as foodstuff and rent), and always remember to save money.
She seeks to expand her business and work as an agent for different banks given that she has gained connections and gathered necessary information to get herself started. She thanks GAERG and SURF for giving her an opportunity to be part of YEEP.
Before joining GAERG as an intern, Inès Cyurineza was staying at home, doing nothing – a habit she admits was slowing down her learning process and making her lazy. Her internship program which run between May and December 2022 was part of YEEP, particularly its work readiness programme.
While there, she acquired new skills concerning diagnosing and resolving faults in computers. She testifies that it opened her mind and boosted her self-confidence. She not only enhanced her ICT skills, but also financial skills and social skills, given that she interacted with different individuals while interning with GAERG.
Cyurineza later applied for a job as an Administration Assistant in Mibirizi Coffee & Foodstuffs (MICOF Ltd) company and secured the position. The work readiness skills she acquired while working with GAERG helped her to easily adapt to her new job. She is an excellent performer and aims to keep learning as she gears up for development.
Her performance is commended by her employer, Emeritha Karwera who testifies that the YEEP beneficiary not only executes her tasks outstandingly but also goes beyond that to lend a hand other departments of MICOF Ltd, especially Finance Department.
Cyurineza thanks GAERG and SURF for providing her with the amazing opportunity.
Before joining YEEP, Egide Munyeragwe was surviving on temporary gigs, working in the area of urban development. After being enrolled in the programme, which he describes as eye-opening, he acquired entrepreneurship skills. The skills not only compelled him to believe in himself but also strengthened his self-confidence. As a result, he started his own business with the amount of money he had saved after being convinced by the programme facilitator that he could start a business with any amount of money he had.
Munyeragwe had a dream of starting a bar while owning a place instead of renting, but during the training program, he decided to start it because he understood that he could still make profit. Today, his business is thriving, given that he started without some essential equipment, including a fridge and a TV, but has now bought them from the profit he made in the first two months of operation. He seeks to turn his bar, La Renaisaince, into a classy and VIP lounge to make it more beneficial as he builds a strong brand. His business is located in Nyamata, Bugesera District.
While undergoing YEEP, Munyeragwe and his fellow trainees also formed a saving group. The money they saved helps them to solve different financial issues by availing loans for members at a small interest.
He thanks GAERG and SURF for all they have done for him and for regathering GAERG members and supporting them, declaring that they did that in the right time.
In 2020 when Covid-19 cases soared and persuaded the Government of Rwanda to ban weddings and other social gatherings, Pascasie Ntivuguruzwa’s decorating business was affected and yet it was her major source of income. The stringent measures to fight the pandemic made her spent around two years at home without any employment. This, predominantly, hindered her development.
Later when she learned about YEEP, Ntivuguruzwa submitted a project as part of her application to join the programme. After being enrolled, she acquired entrepreneurship skills that helped her to revive and run her business in better conditions. She learned how to provide her clients with better services, how to deliver what they have agreed upon on time – the skills she says helped her to secure new valuable customers.
Moreover, the YEEP beneficiary also acquired skills concerning project development and implementation, market research, competition analysis and how she could use social media to market and promote her products and services.
Upon completing the training programme, Ntivuguruzwa also secured a Rwf 400,000 loan that helped her business to recover from Covid-19 effects. She added latest wedding attires and other new products to her shop, and attracted more customers. She testifies that her business is now stable, and she affords to repay the loan on time. She seeks to expand her business as she gets more profit.
Ntivuguruzwa whose shop is located in Nyarugenge Modern Market thanks GAERG and Survivors Fund (SURF) for their support and urges them to continue supporting and advocating for other vulnerable people across Rwanda.
Marie Claire Kanyumba
Marie Claire kanyumba was a cleaner at one of the hospitals in Kigali before she joined YEEP. She could rarely afford taking more than one meal a day due to her small income. On her quest to push on her life, she started learning how to operate a sewing machine, but little did she know that Covid-19 pandemic was around the corner. Unfortunately, it hindered her learning process and made things worse.
When the cases of the pandemic fell, Kanyumba learned about YEEP and applied to join it. She got enrolled and resumed learning to operate a sewing machine with the help of the project’s facilitators. She mastered machine operation and became a competent tailor. She secured a plot in Nyarugunga market which is located in Kanombe Sector, Kicukiro District and started working.
Today, Kanyumba can afford to get all basic needs including food and shelter. She seeks to expand her business and start a shop that sells kitenges, given that some of her customers need the fabric and she is able to design and turn it into desirable outfits.
She thanks GAERG and its sponsors for their support through YEEP, declaring that being part of it is one of the best things that happened in her life.
Before joining YEEP, Angelique Uwimbabazididn’t have any partner to advise or lend her a hand in case her grocery shop was not in tune. She was doing all the work by herself. Today, the YEEP beneficiary has gained a family that makes her feel that she is not alone. Whenever she faces an issue, she engages the family to help her handle it whether financially or with pieces of advice.
Through YEEP, Uwimbabazi also acquired skills that allowed her to think big as well as advisory and financial support that helped her to be resilient. GAERG also introduced her to Amizero, a family that she currently belongs to. Through its saving group, Uwimbabazi secured a loan that helped her business to thrive after using the money to add more goods to her grocery shop which is located in Rwamagana market. She says that Amizero family members have become friends she relies on as well as esteemed customers who bring her more clients.
Uwimbabazi’s business prospered given that before undergoing YEEP, she was only selling rice, sugar and vegetable oil, but today, she has added indagara and other foodstuff, thus making more profit. She strives to have a bigger grocery store.
She thanks GAERG and their sponsors for the opportunity and for giving her a family.
Jean Pierre Kwizera
Before enrolling in YEEP, Jean Pierre Kwizera was a fresh university graduate who didn’t have a formal job. Whenever he gigged, he would pay some bills, but sometimes lack the money to do so.
Through YEEP, he acquired job hunting and keeping skills including ‘how to look for a job’, ‘how to behave during a probation period’ and different tips concerning professionalism, among others. Kwizera used the skills to apply for a job at Radisson Blu and Convention Center and secured it. He is currently a Sewage Treatment Plant Operator and has a job contract.
The YEEP beneficially endeavors for smart work so that he can secure a long-term contract as he enjoys doing what he does. He aims to work hard so that he can thrive, build a good house and have a healthy family.
His employer, Eugene Gashugi testifies that Kwizera is a hardworking and disciplined employee who performs his tasks wholeheartedly and deliver good results. He urges him to keep learning so that he can achieve more.
Kwizera thanks GAERG and SURF for introducing YEEP to him and for helping him to secure a job through the project. He urges the organisation to continue helping more members.