A Plentiful Harvest

A Plentiful Harvest

I have always wanted to be self-employed, but I didn’t know where or how to start.

Before Bizimana's training he was stuck for opportunities.

I have always wanted to be self-employed, but I didn’t know where or how to start.

Before Bizimana's training he was stuck for opportunities.

GLO Partner RAJEDES is focused on creating opportunities! One of their key areas of focus is microloans, which allow people to start a business and become self-sufficient, bringing hope to communities trapped in poverty for generations. In this blog, we look at three individuals who have worked hard to make the most of their microloans in the agricultural sector. Farming is a big deal in the effort to feed the people of Burundi, known as one of the hungriest nations in the world, with over half the population designated as chronically food insecure. We look at a graduate, a budding entrepreneur and a widow who have each benefitted from the RAJEDES microloan groups.

Eric – The Graduate

Farming was not Eric’s dream. After graduating from college, he expected to land a good office job in which he could use his computer skills. However, little did he know that due to the sky-high unemployment rates among young people in Burundi, he would end up using a hoe and learning a whole different skill. With 70 microloans groups, RAJEDES has made it possible for many young people like Eric to forge an alternative path through self-employment. Eric was able to get a loan and started a vegetable farming business. He hopes to save enough from his business to open the first internet cafe in his area. He has since partnered with Bizimana to support him in his livestock business.

bizimama farmer microloan and business partner
Bizimana & Eric

Bizimana – The Budding Entrepreneur

“I have always wanted to be self-employed, but I didn’t know where or how to start.” Bizimana had aspirations of starting a business from a young age, but unfortunately, he was held back by a lack of capital. Through RAJEDES, he not only acquired a loan and the vital training to develop his understanding and aid him in channelling his skills in the best direction. He and Eric started off buying two goats, using their profits to acquire another 4 in just 6 months. In addition to the financial provision these microloans lead to, it also gives the greater gift of independence – the freedom to make choices about one’s future.

ann-marie farmer microloan
Ann-Marie tends her crops

Ann-Marie – The Widow

After tragedy struck Ann-Marie and her 4 children with the death of her husband, life had become unbearable. With the pressure of children to provide for, she was grateful to become involved with a RAJEDES microloans group. Her life has changed drastically for the better as a result.

“I got a loan of 100,000FrBu ($50), which enabled me to try my hand at agriculture. I rent 300m² of land where I grow vegetables and sell them in the market. Now I can support myself and my children.” With the profits from the farm, she hopes to rent a larger parcel of land soon.

These new farmers are just a cross-section of the many impacted by the microloan groups and training provided by RAJEDES. Microfinance is an exciting area of development with the power to transform communities, not only in agriculture but also in small-scale industry and crafts. As an individual life is transformed, a ripple of hope and economic growth flows into their community. For more stories of microfinance projects, read our guest blog from Arne Sylta of Hauge Microfinance; From Beggars to Entrepreneurs.

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