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Portraits from Rwanda: Mrs. Claude is All Business

Happy International Women’s Day! In honor of today, we are spotlighting some of our favorite stories about female empowerment. Here, we get to know Risarahoze J. Claude, a mother with an incredible entrepreneurial spirit. (Photo Caption: Risarahoze J. Claude on the right). 

When aid organizations leave a region after their program concludes, there is often a risk that, without the resources once provided, poverty will once again overtake a community. At FXB, we’ve proven that when you give individuals multiple opportunities to sustain themselves successfully, the change is long-lasting and meaningful.

In 2009, FXB established a village program in Gitarama, Rwanda, where we were introduced to Risarahoze J. Claude. Risarahoze was a mother of five who was struggling to support her family and was relying on bartering with her neighbors to get food. She had no significant income, no savings and no proper house for her family.

With the help of FXB, she was given the resources to build a house, which was her first priority. From there, she bought a pig that would become a more stable form of income for her family. By the time the FXB program ended in 2011, Riarahoze was participating in multiple income-generating activities.

Outside of her house was a kitchen garden, which, in addition to serving as an income-generating activity, granted her family more stable sources of food. Similarly, she had a cow that served as a source of food, income and a symbol of success.

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While happy to see us, Risarahoze was rushing us throughout our visit because she didn’t want to be away from her beer business— yet another one of her income-generating activities— for too long. She and her husband are the owners and operators of a beer hall that has proven to be very successful. Not only is it another source of income, which provides stability for the whole family, but it is also a project that has strengthened their family bonds because Riarahoze and her husband work together to reach a goal.

Four years after graduating from the FXB program, Risarahoze is living proof that if you give individuals the tools to provide for their own basic needs, they can not only survive but thrive. Being able to witness Risarahoze’s entrepreneurial spirit in action, it’s clear that FXB is the catalyst of change and that it’s the individuals and their own ambitions that sustain the transformation.

Risarahoze working at the beer hall she runs with her husband

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