Lives can be transformed when we work together this Lent
When the coronavirus pandemic struck Rwanda, it pushed people further into poverty. Take Laetitia’s community…
Laetitia is a farmer in Rwanda, where life has been tough. She struggled to earn an income and provide for her children, as did many in her community. But then Laetitia heard about a self-help group – set up by Tearfund’s local church partner. These groups bring together people from across the community to read the Bible, support each other and save money for the future.
Being part of the group also gave Laetitia the skills and the confidence to start her own small business raising chickens. 'We were able to sell eggs and get money to meet basic household needs and buy food for our children.' shares Laetitia.
Things were going well. But then the pandemic hit and there was no market for the eggs. Laetitia’s business – and those of others in her community – came to a standstill.
The power of togetherness
Self-help groups like Laetitia’s mean that when times are difficult, people have the practical and emotional support they need. This pandemic has taught us that we need each other – and that we all need a safety net.
‘The advantage we had over others as group members [was] at least we managed to share what we had in our treasury to feed our families during this terrible period,’ shares Laetitia. ‘We used that money to prepare for the lockdown.
‘We didn’t suffer like most people in our community who did not belong to self-help groups,’ says Laetitia. ‘The utmost importance of this group to me is love. We sit and discuss and learn about love and the word of God.’
Laetitia’s group are now working to build their businesses back up. Through joining together, they can beat poverty.
Tearfund works with local churches and other partners to run self-help groups like this around the world, enabling people like Laetitia to lift themselves out of poverty. And when disasters strike, self-help groups ensure the most vulnerable are not left behind.