This focus on equality underpins the new Women’s Empowerment initiative from GLO Partner RAJEDES as they operate their microloan and savings groups. Participants each contribute a small amount of income weekly into a shared pot, from which individuals can take out low-interest loans, giving them capital to invest in business ventures which would otherwise be impossible.
The beneficiaries of the project are poor young women, and widows including women who have business ideas but lack the capital to start a business. Leader Donatien and his team do not discriminate in who is able to partake, and women from all faiths and backgrounds are included in the 100 women who are part of the scheme.
One woman who has benefitted from this scheme is mother-of-eight Médiatrice. With her husband struggling to find work, Médiatrice started selling tomatoes on the side of the street, but could only scrape together a small amount of produce to sell. She was unable to make enough money to support the children’s education so they did not attend school. With a loan of just £40, Médiatrice was able to offer an increased volume and variety of products, allowing her to pay back the loan and support her family, with the children able to go to school. Having paid off the first loan, she has come back for a second of £95 which will develop the business further. Médiatrice is just one representative of her group. Life by life, RAJEDES is transforming this community in one of the poorest parts of Bujumbura.