|Antoinette at her bridal store|
UOB has many client transformation stories.
Antoinette is one of many, but her story is worth reading because she won the Thruman Award Honorable Mention for Africa. Thurman Award is given by Hope International, one of the largest Christian micro finance networks in the worlds, to clients whose lives have transformed through micro finance.
Below is the story that has been prepared and submitted by Agaba Bisengo, UOB's Transformation Advance Officer. You will find out how much she has transformed over just 10 years. - Jeffrey
Antoinette and her husband, Kwizera, have transformed their lives since joining UOB in 2002. Prior to utilizing UOB’s many different services, Antoinette had to feed and support four children on her husband’s meager salary as a driver for tour groups. After struggling to make ends meet, she garnered up the courage and put faith in the Lord to guide her to economic and spiritual transformation.
With an initial loan of twenty-thousand Rwandan Francs (equivalent to $40 at that time) as a part of a trust group, Antoinette was able to begin renting a saloon and market herself as a full-fledged businesswoman. As her saloon blossomed and became a focal point of business in Muhoza, Musanze District in Northern Province, she expanded her saloon into a cloth/accessories store, a dry cleaner, and a wedding dress rental center. Her loan has grown proportionally to her success, which currently sits at a cool ten million Rwanda Francs (equivalent to $16,000).
|Antoinette at her dry cleaner|
Although many people laud Antoinette’s material accomplishment, which includes three separate businesses, a house worth thirty-million Francs, a plot of land, and a car, Antoinette claims that it is all thanks to the Lord and UOB for easing her into a business model and plan which, coupled with hard work, came to fruition.
When asked why Antoinette chose UOB over other MFIs, she responded that UOB was the first bank she had witnessed which prayed and spent time to help her build a solid foundation based on Christ-centered goals instead of focusing on sheer capital gain. Uwimana joyously exclaimed that her family has come to know and understand God’s ways in a meaningful way and that her profits are all a part of God’s providence.
Furthermore, UOB provides HLI (Holistic Life Improvement) modules to train its clients on different aspects of business management, including how to use loans properly, the importance of saving, and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Antoinette credits the HLI modules as being critical for her success as it helped her save money and time.
Being involved in a UOB Trust Group has also provided increasing benefits for Antoinette and her family. She recounts that the trust group introduced her to the many different entrepreneurs in her village and witnessing so many individuals come together to defeat poverty fortified her resolve to make her business successful. Today, Antoinette has hired four workers and pays for the school fees of her sister’s children in addition to paying for her own. She provides monetary support to her parents and is still churning out new ideas to make her business better. (By Agaba Besingo)