EIGHT HUNDRED WOMEN in the southern district of Nyaruguru, who underwent training in various fields under the support and guidance of an international women organisation, said the skills acquired are positively impacting their lives.
The women were on Friday awarded certificates after almost a year of study, training and support.
Over the period, they acquired various life skills including, entrepreneurship, marketing, literacy, human rights and vocational skills.
They also trained in various practical fields, such as tailoring, basket weaving, pearl and jewel making, commercial farming as well as beekeeping, honey processing and packaging, among others.
The one-year programme was championed by Women for Women International (WfWi), an international non-governmental organisation that works to uplift the lives of vulnerable women.
The group is now expected to become independent while the organisation will help another group acquire similar skills.
It was celebration, hope and tales of a journey from a destitute and desperate life to better living conditions as the 'graduates' gathered in Kibeho and narrated what they have achieved over the past year.
The women, who also organised a small exhibition of their products-mainly jewellery, processed honey, agriculture products and baskets-said they have already started utilising the acquired skills to transform their lives.
Helena Mukamuyenzi, one of them, said the business skills she acquired helped her in better management of her resources, which she said has significantly impacted her life.
"I was poor and used to waste even the little resources I had," Mukamuyenzi said.
"But thanks to this programme, I have known how to better utilise the little I have to increase my revenues and improve my living conditions," she said, pointing to a well-maintained house and a cow in her backyard.
"A year ago, I didn't have all that and there was no hope to achieve them. But what I live today is a totally different life. Contrary to the time when I used to spend my resources without any plan, today every step I take and every action I make is calculated and I plan before anything."
Change of purse fortunes
Nikuze Renatha, another beneficiary who trained and is currently practicing beekeeping, said getting money was in the past very difficult and looked like a dream for many of them.
"Today, we have invested our efforts in beekeeping and the returns we are getting help us to live better," she said.
"Our children have clothes and shoes, they go to school and we have capacity to meet our other needs. We have now grounds to envision a better life."
Antoinette Uwimana, the WfWi country director, said their interventions are dictated by the need to impact the lives of vulnerable women with the overall aim of improving family welfare.
"We want women to be involved in income generating activities to sustain their lives and contribute to improving the welfare of their families," Uwimana said.
Nyaruguru vice mayor for social affairs Angelique Nireberaho called up on the beneficiaries to utilise the acquired skills and work hard to uplift their livelihoods.