Anne Uwambajimana is a 28-year single mother residing in Buriza village of Mugambazi sector near Rutongo mining operations. When she was about to finish high school at the age of 22, she became pregnant and subsequently dropped out of school. She gave birth to a baby boy and strugged to take care of the child. Without the means to return to school and was searching for a way to care for herself and her child.In high school, Anne had specialized in accounting and so she decided to try starting a micro-enterprise. She started with only 1,000 Rwf (approximately $1.10) which she used to buy 1 kilogram of wheat flour.
Anne holding her baby boy which she's able to look after using some income generated out of her home basics shop
Her neighbor supported her by lending her 1 liter of cooking oil and some sugar. This small, basic ingredients, Anne began making doughnuts, which she later served with black tea. In the beginning, she would recycle her investment and create 2,000 Rwf a day of revenue from doughnuts and tea sales to workers from the nearby mining operation.
This cycle of making 2,000 Rwf per day continued for five years, and Anne's livelihood did not change much, that is until she enrolled in WRN! The WRN! training program was introduced in her village by Esther's Aid, an implementing partner of the HDAK project.
"My perspectives and understanding of business management completely shifted after we finished the WRN! financial fitness module. I started to understand the value of the little money I was earning, and how to use it to expand my financial potential. A few weeks later, I transformed my small tea and doughnuts operation into this shop," recounted Anne as she showed off the shop we were sitting in.
Anne Uwambajimana explained how she used her newly gained skills to begin searching for gaps in the market within her community. The first gap she identified was the need for a physical shop where potential customers would know they could reliably arrive and place orders and consume tea and doughnuts. Second, her village was isolated and didn’t have access to buying basic home needs such as toothbrushes, soap, sugar, and salt. Once her shop was in place, people began to rely on her for many of their essential needs. Anne illustrated what she learned in her train by saying:
"During the HDAK training, we were taught how to scan job opportunities within our home environments. That's how I identified the need and found the confidence to establish a shop selling different basic home utilities."
Anne now aspires to become the leading businesswoman in her community and beyond by expanding her commerce to surrounding communities.