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Fortunee Nyiranambajimana used to face income-related challenges but she is now one of hundreds benefiting from Icyizere savings and loan association.

36-year-old Fortunee is a mother of five, living in Gitega sector of Nyarugenge District in Kigali. For years, she struggled to feed her children and take good care of her family.

In 2019 Fortunee heard about Impanuro Girls Initiative and since 2020 she had been actively participating in the training programs and became a member of Icyizere Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) in 2021, a decision she believes has completely changed her life.

“Through their trainings, I got knowledge on sexual reproductive health and rights, family planning, proper menstrual hygiene management, and tips on how one can become self-reliant,” says Fortunee.

Fortunee is very thankful to the Impanuro Girls Initiative’s trainers who encourage women to create savings groups and participate in income-generating activities which help them to solve financial issues in their families. She admits that joining IGI’s economic empowerment programs has not only helped her fight poverty but also improved her skills as well as her emotional and social life.

“Before joining this group, I often felt like I was isolated. I had a few people to talk to but now I have made a good number of female friends. We meet once a week to save a small amount of money and exchange great ideas and knowledge,” she says.

Impanuro Girls Initiative’s Icyizere VSLA has improved the lives of Fortunee and her children. The new way of living has made her content and sparked high hopes for the future of her children.

“I have accessed a small loan to expand my business, gained money management skills because I served as the treasurer of the group for almost two years. I am now able to support my family with basic needs, and pay school fees for my children on time,” Fortunee says.

As part of our Women Economic Empowerment and Leadership program, we introduced Icyizere VSLA to encourage the culture of savings among women in Gitega Sector. More than a hundred members like Fortunee, teen mothers, in and out of school girls, vulnerable women with low levels of education, and single parents have been directly benefiting from it. The association is playing a critical role by providing women in need with affordable loans which enables them to gain more power in their households and change their lives for better.

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