“Kwigira” is a name given to informal saving and credit groups supported by Caritas Kigali’s Abadacogora-Intwari. Parents gathered in those groups have improved their wellbeing thanks to those groups’ saving and credit services.
Many of them have developed themselves thanks to the money they have been borrowing from Kwigira groups. As they keep paying back their loans, they continue borrowing money to get themselves out of poverty.
Angelique Mutegarugori is one of many women who have developed themselves thanks to the money she borrowed in those groups.
She says that before she joins the Kwigira group life was not easy to her because she was raising six children alone.
Currently she is a vegetable trader in Nyabugogo market, capable to solve her family’s problem, while it was not easy to put food on table for her children before she joins a Kwigira group.
She had to feed her children alone, to pay school fees and school materials for them, to pay health insurance for them, and pay renting fees which was a burden to her.
Mutegaruguri says she was only capable to feed her children once a day and could fail to feed them even once a day sometimes. He could stop working due to lack of capital, as her capital was small and inconsistent, in the range of 3.000 and 5.000Rwf.
“It has been a miracle to me to get capital from Abadacogora-Intwari center, which granted 40.000Rwf to me through the Kwigira group. I increase my capital and currently get more incomes which enable me to pay myself anything I want” Mutegarugori adds.
As she was getting more incomes, she started to increase her savings and sent children back to school as it was becoming easier for her to pay school fees to them.
After finishing to pay the first loan, Mutegarugori was granted an 80.000Rwf loan for the second time. This capital permitted her to keep expanding her business, adding spaghetti and cooking oil to the vegetables she was used to trade.
She also increased her savings and continued to pay back her loan appropriately.
For the third time she was granted 90.000Rwf loan. She opened an account with the Saving and Credit Cooperative (SACCO), and started making deposits, expanding her business and increasing her savings at the instance that she started saving 500Rwf on a daily basis.
After finishing to pay back the third loan, Mutegarugori was granted 150.000Rwf and after finishing to pay back I was granted 200.000Rwf and then 250.000Rwf.
She currently has 600.000Rwf and has started to build her own house which is on the final phase.
The loans granted to Mutegarugori enabled her to develop herself and her whole family in general, as she keeps getting herself out of poverty.
Francoise Byukusenge, sells the local soft drink locally known as Ubushera and weaves bags.
She was living in difficult conditions before she was granted the loan that served as a capital. She could only afford one jerrycan before she was granted the loan, but after getting a 40.000Rwf loan she expanded her business to three jerrycans.
This increased her incomes and enabled her to pay renting fees, pay schools fees and school materials for her children, pay health insurance scheme contributions and make daily savings of 1.000Rwf.
After finishing to pay back the first loan, Byukusenge was granted the second loan of 60.000Rwf and continued her business selling Ubushera and weaving bags. She could weave 10 bags a day.
At the fourth time she was granted another loan of 80.000Rwf which enabled her to expand her business. She continued selling Ubushera and weaving bags but the number of bags she could weave has increased to the range of 20 to 50 a day depending on the demand.
“I afforded to buy myself a house. I kept participating actively in Kwigira group from which I borrowed and pay back loans appropriately. I took another loan of 150.000 to expand my activities” she says.
As she was growing she ended up taking a loan of 250.000Rwf, her children went back to school and pay health insurance contributions easily.
Father Donatien Twizeyumuremyi, director of Caritas Kigali says that these loans are paid within six months. Every borrower pay back the loan in weekly instalments except groups which invest in agricultural activities which pay back on monthly basis.
When they finish paying back the first loan, they qualify for another loan. Currently 361 including 42 male have benefited from the loan since 2017. In 2017, loans equivalent to 17.245.500Rwf were granted to different Kwigira groups, while 22.771.800Rwf were granted in 2018.
Father Twizeyumuremyi insisted that good relationship in families matters for them to afford paying back their loans. He added that parents should think of family planning to be able to take care of their children.
He reminded that by supporting them, Caritas Kigali aims at developing vulnerable people to get them out of poverty.
“We want families to be able at least to pay school fees for their children, to feed them at least twice a day, to insure their cleanliness. We want improve families wellbeing but unfortunately some families want to remain in the category of poor and we want them to change their mindset” he added.
Father Twizeyumuremyi reminded Kwigira group members that they have to use borrowed money appropriately, and promised them that since January 2019 he will start visiting them in their families to see whether their developing themselves.