Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Story of Esperance MUKASEKURU...

Esperance Mukasekuru is a successful weaver who lives in Ngoma district, Kibungo sector and Karenge cell. She buys used bed sheets and bed covers and then skillfully weaves colorful drawings into them, increasing their value and thereby allowing her to profit from their resale. Esperance joined UOB in 2000 and received US$35 as an initial loan. She used this loan to buy threads for making and embroidering these bedcovers, bed sheets, and hand -made table mats which she sells to the community.

On account of her good performance in the loan cycle as well as her business’s success, Esperance received a larger loan during the next loan cycle.

In 2001, just one year after joining one of UOB’s trust groups, her husband, who worked as a driver, had a car accident and broke his arm. Her husband’s recovery took two years. During that time, Esperance took up all the responsibilities of supporting her family using the revenues from her business. For example, the windows of their house had had no glasses in them, but during this time, Esperance fixed glass into the window frames. Each successive cycle, Esperance secured a larger loan than the previous one.

UOB teaches its clients to save, and their savings act as an incentive to get a bigger loan the next loan cycle. Consequently, Esperance practiced saving until she was able to get a loan of US $ 1,232. She used this loan to buy a photocopying machine and a computer. With this machine and computer, she opened a new business. She makes copies of different documents for community members who need this service. In return, they pay her for her service. Because she lives near university premises, she photocopies handouts for different students who then pay her according to the size of their documents. For those students who do not have computers or time to type their theses, she charges them some money to type them. From this new business, Esperance makes over US $ 143 per month.

From her profits, Esperance was able to meet the needs of her six children as well as the seven orphans that stay at her house, such as providing them food and paying school fees. From Esperance’s perspective, she has 13 children under her care. Using her business, she has been able to send all her children to school. Four are studying at university, six are in secondary School, and two are in primary school. The remaining daughter received a scholarship to attend university in South Africa.

Once Esperance realized the success of her business, she decided to more fully and deeply impact her community by training community women in weaving. Therefore, she formed a group of five underprivileged women who had no businesses of their own to generate income and taught them how to knit bed covers, sheets, and tablemats as well as to make baskets and bags. The verandah of her house served as a class room. The group turned into an association, and the women are now earning a good amount of money and can provide for their families instead of waiting for a well-wisher to give them relief.

Esperance says that joining UOB helped her not only learn how to work but also gain leadership skills. In 2004, she was elected president of the trust group of which she is a member. Further, when Esperance attended a women’s meeting at the district level, the assembly wanted to elect a president. After learning that she is a president of a trust group, almost everyone voted for her. She then was elected the President of District Women’s Guarantee Fund.

Esperance says that joining UOB has not only benefited her in terms of economic progress but that being a member of a trust group has enhanced her relationship with God and others. She also says the fellowship with her group members – reading the Bible and praying before each meeting – has changed her life by increasing her love for others.

In addition, on account of the time that she and her group members have spent in prayer together, they have cultivated a love for one another. For example, one of Esperance’s fellow trust group members lost her husband to suicide. Because of the love and respect the group members shared, the other group members decided to pay the outstanding balance of her loan. They frequently visited her during this difficult time and supported her in every way possible.

Esperance’s future plan is to buy a printer and further expand her business. The printer costs approximately US$2,143.

May the faithful Lord continue to hold her hands in her life journey and make many Esperance stories in the lives of Rwanda! - Jeffrey

7 comments:

LCC said...

Hi,

How are you and Kristin? How was her trip back to Rwanda. The Habaneros are always thinking of you guys and praying for you.

Habaneros

jlee80111 said...

Hi, Habaneros. Thank you for your prayer support. It means a lot to us. Kris has arrived safely yesterday. Great to have her with me! Cheers and shalom! Jeffrey

Dale Dawson said...

Wonderful story of Esperance. Please keep writing stories and hope that you, Kristin and everyone at UOB are doing well... in His hands -- Dale

jlee80111 said...

HI, Dale, thank you for the encouragements. Last Friday, we celebrated the grand opening of Nyamata Branch with the BNR Governor as the keynote speaker. He spoke so nicely of the bank that many participants, including the media, were pleasantly surprised. Praise the Lord! I miss you and will see you in August. - JJL

LCC said...

Dear Jeffrey and Kristin,

How are you guys doing lately, haven't seen new post from you guys. We are always thinking of you and pray for you. Anything we can pray for you guys?

Habaneros

In Kim said...

What a story! You are living in the field of ministry. Not only she is doing business well, also she reaches out to others who needs help. Thank you for your story and keep praying for you.

jlee80111 said...

Hi Habaneros. I have been extremely busy. Last weekend, I led a leadership retreat with 65 people. It was a blessing. I will soon post new blogs.

Hi, In, thank you for your prayer support. That is most needed in the field. Blessings, Jeffrey