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Date23.03.2017 CountryRwanda Aflateen votes81

Becoming Self-Sufficient in Rwanda

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Changing Life Habits

Florence has been part of the Financial Education and Life Skills (FELS) program at her school since 2015, and this has changed her life. The 17-year-old lives in rural Rwanda with her three brothers and her parents who are both farmers, growing crops like maize, beans, bananas and cassava. Poverty is a significant barrier to education for some of Florence’s peers, as she explains “some families have a big number of children that they cannot take care of, and it’s hard for families to provide get school materials and other school-related costs for some of the children.”

Florence is part of a school savings club that has 20 members and meets every Monday. She says through FELS lessons she learns how to solve some of her problems and has learnt a lot about money, such as organizing savings and planning expenses. Florence has become self-sufficient. She receives a small allowance from her parents and says, “In three months I can save up to 3,000 Rwandan francs (3.63 US dollars)”.

To top up her allowance, she started selling eggs laid by her family’s chickens to supplement her savings and raised 15,000 Rwandan francs (18.16 US dollars) which she used to buy all her school materials such as books, a mathematics set, and a bag. There was also enough to pay for her lunch for a whole term.

The children enrolled in the Credit Suisse program are inspired to share their newly acquired knowledge with their peers and communities. Florence says, “Together with my club members we encouraged people to learn about financial education through poems and sketches. As a result there are now other saving clubs in the community and outside the school.”

Even Florence’s parents are benefitting. She says, “After seeing my achievements from saving just a small amount every week they also joined a village saving and loan association”