|Felicita Muragijimana, 47 (Imirasire Cooperative)|
Felicita is married with three children. Before she began working with Indego Africa, she spent her days farming alone while her husband ran a small grocery stand. Felicita joined Imirasire cooperative, formed with the help of the UN, out of “curiosity and desperation.” Although the UN taught the women to weave baskets, it did not bring them any orders and the cooperative languished. The villagers laughed at the members, and mocked them for the time they spent away from their farms. But then, Felicita explains:
Indego Africa linked to our cooperative and began placing large orders, and our reality fully changed almost overnight. We felt we had a purpose, and we began to contribute to our households. We actually all came to singlehandedly support our households because we were making more money than our husbands. The villagers stopped laughing at us and they began to respect us. Even more importantly, we began to respect ourselves.
Using the income she earned through Indego Africa, Felicita was able to outfit her home with electricity and running water, purchase health insurance for her family, pay her children's' school fees, and buy a television. As she explains:
When my husband was the sole provider, we lacked for much in the house. Not only did he earn very little, but men do not understand the importance of basic household needs. For example, my husband is a good man but he would not agree to buy me or the children clothes because he did not see why we needed more than one outfit, even though we had nothing to wear when we did the washing and had to borrow from a neighbor. Now I do not have to ask my husband or wait for him to agree before I can buy things I think are necessary.
Felicita has also opened a bank account to save money for the future, and has invested in another property that she rents out for extra income.
Felicita’s days are now filled with the company of others, and she “laughs often” and “can share ideas and thoughts with other women instead of suffering alone in silence.”