While some persons with with disabilities go out to the streets to beg to get by, a select group has beaten the odds by starting from saving around Rwf50 or Rwf100 each to generate Rwf650 million capital for creating viable businesses.
In a media tour organized by NUDOR under liveltyhood program supported by both CBM Germany and CBM UK under Scotish government funds, different persons with disabilities told reporters how NUDOR sensitized them to join the Village Saving and Loan Groups, VSLGs, and how these groups played a pivotal role in raising their incomes and change their lives.
Beatrice Nyirabumba, is one of the residents with disabilities in Nzahaha sector from Rusizi District, who formed a saving group that has already transformed their lives. Taliking to his past, The 45-year old mother said she was a street vendor who used to peddle and generate low income to buy food. “I was only working for food and I had no hope for sustainable development,” she said.
In the last four years, Nyirabumba and her colleagues with disabilities had begun by saving Rwf50 or Rwf100 per week each member to the saving and loans group. Today, each member’s contribution to the group has increased to Rwf500 per week. “I would get a loan from the savings group and buy small livestock. Currently I have two cows, four goats including modern goats that provide milk. I paid school fees for my child’s high school and I have a target to also pay for his university tuition fees,” she testified.
In Rusizi District, there are 214 loan and savings groups with comprising 5,991 members with different disabilities. Marie Thérèse Mukantagara, from Nyakarenzo Sector is one of the group members. By making use of the savings groups, she managed to modernize her banana growing operation. “I urge people with disabilities who are begging to stop the vice. It distorts our image yet we are able to work and generate income. Through saving small amount of money, they can grow,” she said.
The loans and savings groups are operating in nine districts including Rusizi and Rutsiro. Assiel Ngiruwonsanga, a resident of Mushubati Sector in Rutsiro District, started with retailing cooking and ripe bananas.Currently he is running a shop with goods worth Rwf600, 000.“I managed to reach such a level thanks to loans I got from the savings group in different times. I also have a cow. I have realized that Rwf100 can transform a person’s life. Anyone in the savings group easily gets soap, salt and satisfies other basic needs including which children need at school,” he said.
According to FinScope 2020 thematic report on persons with disabilities, which was published by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) in partnership with the National Union of Disability Organisations in Rwanda (NUDOR), For savings, only 15 per cent of persons with disabilities have savings in banks, 4 percent save with family and friends and 19 per cent do not have savings, according to the report.
Mr. Emile Cadet VUNINGABO. Livelihood program coordinator at National Union of Disability Organisations in Rwanda (NUDOR) said that Since April last year, there are 50,708 people with disabilities gathered in 1,721 savings groups. so far, the people with disabilities in saving groups have saved Rwf659.1 million.