After a year when many families were decimated financially, one of the priorities for Compassion Rwanda in 2021 is empowering caregivers to start income-generating activities and form savings groups.
“We had put a lot of emphasis on COVID-19 interventions, especially during the lockdown. We offered food baskets, health and child protection interventions,” says John Nkubana, national director of Compassion Rwanda. “But in 2021, the area to put a lot of emphasis on is empowering caregiver income-generating activities to improve the livelihood of families.”
Alice is a mother of 3-year-old twin girls whose life today is a testament to how income-generating activities and savings groups can transform lives. Her family was able to survive the pandemic due to the small business skills she learned as part of the Compassion Survival Program, which ministers to mothers and their infant children.
When Alice was registered into the Survival Program, her family not only received medical care and nutrition support, but Alice was trained in an income-generating activity — tailoring — and joined a savings group where she could access small loans. Today, Alice owns a sewing machine and is making a living from sewing dresses, shirts and trousers. She also has a small shop that sells vegetables.
“I’m grateful to the center staff and caregivers. I was always a stay-home mother who was sad and lonely,” she says. “But today I have people to share business ideas with, people to laugh and cry with. I felt the support of the fellow caregivers and center staff the most during the COVID-19 restrictions. They gave me clothes to make for them so that I could earn and take care of my family. I’m thankful to God.”
National director Nkubana says a family's livelihood is important in determining whether or not a child is known, loved and protected, which is why that is Compassion Rwanda's focus for 2021. “We can’t ignore empowering caregivers,” he explains, “if we want to achieve the outcome of children becoming fulfilled Christian adults.”