How together we overcame poverty

Self-help groupsRwanda

Liberatta and her husband fell on hard times after building their house in Rwanda. Although they had a roof over their heads, they now struggled to feed their three children and were in a state of constant worry. They couldn’t think of how they could begin to provide for themselves again.

Not alone
Rwanda has made significant progress in recovering from the devastation of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi population. However, over 39 per cent of the population still live below the poverty line.

Tearfund works with a number of partner organisations in Rwanda, especially local churches. They encourage communities to come together to set up self-help groups. These groups meet regularly and put small amounts of money aside to save and invest in projects that will help benefit them and their community. This means people from low-income backgrounds gain the knowledge and skills they need to take advantage of local investment and business opportunities.

This is how Liberatta found a way to help her family out of poverty.

‘The good thing about our self-help group is that we are supporting each other - we visit each other. When you are sick, you are not alone… here you know that you have a family,’ Liberatta shares.

Every time they meet, they do a Bible study together – which brings comfort to the group. In being honest with each other about where they are at and the struggles they are facing, they are able to build one another up. Seeing other people overcome their struggles gave Liberatta the confidence to believe in herself and in the dreams that she had, and to aim for that too.

Setting up shop
Through the self-help group, Liberatta was able to save and take out a loan, enabling her to set up a shop. It is the only one in her neighbourhood that sells food, so business has been going well for her. At the moment its located in her home, but she has plans to build a shop in her community. Her dream is that by 2020, she will have that shop.

Liberatta now not only has enough food that her family doesn’t go hungry, but she can pay for her children’s school fees too. She also has a new love for church. Before joining a self-help group, she rarely went to church, but now she goes regularly and enjoys the time she spends studying her Bible with her self-help group.

One story that sticks with Liberatta is the story of Sarah, the wife of Abraham. She shares how Sarah spent many years waiting for the child God promised, and that this story gave Liberetta hope that God would answer her prayers and provide for her: ‘I waited like Sarah, and with patience and prayer, I finally have all I’ve prayed for,’ Liberatta concludes.

PLEASE PRAY

  • Praise God for his provision for Liberatta and her family. Pray for her business, that it will keep thriving and that she will have the money needed to open a shop in the community next year.
  • Lift up Tearfund’s local partners who help to coordinate the self-help groups and encourage people to take part. Pray for wisdom for them about who to invite to join. Thank God for their desire to see people transform their lives.
  • Pray for self-help groups across Rwanda, that they will continue to help communities find solutions to overcome poverty.