Help Women in Rwanda Fight Against Poverty

by Opportunity International

Mukamuhizi Alphosina is married with two children. Her husband is her partner in business. Their business is to sell different types of food in the markets. She sells food goods such as beans, corn, wheat etc., before borrowing a loan from Opportunity her business was not able to support her family in the way they needed. 

Due to the loan profit she has been able to build a house which her family lives in today. “I am able to buy nice cloth for my children and for myself without depending on my husband.” Moreover, she has been able to buy three goats in which she has decided to keep for animal farming. Her oldest child is in school and she is able to pay school fees on time.

She is a positive impact on more than just her family. Mukamuhizi says, "I have been able to advice other women in my community to join too so that they can improve their lives and families as well. So far five women that are my neighbors have joined Opportunity International due to my encouragement." 

Thank you for supporting women like Mukamuhizi Alphosina. This project is now fully funded because of you. We know that investing in women and families creates thriving economies and strong communities—building blocks for a peaceful future. Thats why 94% of our loan clients are women. We will be closing this project but will be rolling over all recurring gifts to a similar Opportunity International project on Global Giving called, Help bring Financial Stability to Uganda (7622). 

 For 13 years, Afsa has served as the leader of her Opportunity Rwanda Trust Group located outside Kigali, Rwanda, where she lives with her husband and five children. Afsa, who once struggled to make ends meet selling sugar, rice and flour, now operates a thriving business selling colorful fabric used to craft women’s clothing. Additionally, she built and currently rents two houses, and she is building a small shop to sell her fabrics. 

“Before Opportunity Rwanda came,” she said, “most women I know sold their wares by walking up and down the street. They did not own anything - they eked out enough to survive - one day at a time. Some days were not so good. The difference between a good and a bad day was simply whether or not your family had enough to eat. Today, many of us who have become Opportunity clients have much to show for our hard work. Some of us have built homes; others have purchased a motorbike or car. All of us have invested substantially into our families.Opportunity Rwanda is a ladder that raises you from one place to another - the place I am today is much better!” 

Most significantly for Afsa, Opportunity Rwanda has helped her instill leadership skills among women, who are traditionally underappreciated. She strives to empower women as they learn the importance of discipline and handling money in ways that build trustworthiness and integrity. “It pleases me to know that people trust my guidance. Whenever I am chosen to lead, I am prepared because I feel confident.” According to Afsa, “Opportunity Rwanda teaches Trust Groups how to increase their income, live well in the community, care for their families and serve others. Learning these skills has not only helped me bring my business to profitability, but also improves my ability to partner with other women and community leaders."

Anitha in her shop
Anitha in her shop

“It’s reassuring to know that we are facing the future together”

Anitha is the mother of five children in primary school.  Until two years ago, Anitha worked in a nursery in her community. When she lost her job she also lost the family’s only source of income. “I didn’t know what to do, until a friend suggested becoming a member of her Trust Group and starting my own business.”

She took out a small loan of $50 and bought some stock to open up a modest street stall selling fruit and vegetables.  Anitha now buys her produce in bulk on a weekly basis, she is able to earn a $2-3 profit.

Anitha has established herself in the bustling Kimisagara marketplace. Her street stall has a prime location in a busy area. With her profits and her current loan of $270 thanks to your support, she was able to expand her produce to include maize, sorghum and groundnuts.  Anitha is doing so well that she has been able to hire a young lady in her community to look after her children while she works.

Anitha greatly appreciates the friendship and community that comes with being part of the Abizeranya Trust Group. “Joining the group helped me to come out of the isolation I was feeling. I learned that I had to pick myself up and continue on with my life, that I couldn’t give up – for my children’s sake, and also for my own sake.” Anitha continues, “I love being part of this large group of courageous women. As Rwandans, we have all been through different experiences, but together we face the same challenges. We’re all women and we’re all struggling to provide an income for our families.  It’s reassuring to know that we are facing the future together.”

Recently named a top-running bank by the National Bank of Rwanda, Opportunity Rwanda has achieved steady growth in all areas of outreach. Living up to its name, Banki ya Bose, or Bank for All, Opportunity Rwanda increased its savings outreach by a remarkable 40% which helped the bank double its savings portfolio over one year. The growth is attributed to the savings culture it is embedding in communities through widespread awareness campaigns and training.

Amidst a history of growth the bank has consistently maintained a high-quality portfolio. Opportunity Rwanda recently celebrated reaching the milestone of 100% Financial Sustainability which CEO Jeffrey Lee attributes to ongoing development training and mentoring for both staff and clients.


Client Clementine Uzabakiriho and her family
Client Clementine Uzabakiriho and her family

Your support has helped us develop a number of product innovations that bring even more opportunities to families trying to work themselves out of poverty. 

Product innovations open doors and protect against loss. Loan officers work closely with clients to ensure they have the right services to build thriving businesses.

  • The life insurance and funeral benefit coverage launched last year has been well received by clients. Over 150,000 clients are receiving this protection that aims to lessen the burden on families during a time of bereavement, up from 30,000 at the start of 2012.
  • A Children’s Savings Account was launched as an ideal way for parents to save money for their children’s education expenses.   
  • Clients gave positive feedback across focus groups conducted to gather feedback on new products that have been designed to serve the expressed needs of clients, including: Home Improvement Loans, Emergency Loans, Secondary Student Loans and Premier Life Insurance.

Training bridges a critical information gap. To achieve our vision to face poverty alleviation in a holistic way, Opportunity Rwanda delivered training to 7,000 clients, including the family pictured left, during the first half of 2012. In addition to financial inclusion with a broad range of customized product and services, the bank delivers life-changing information through its Holistic Life Improvement modules. The 60 modules cover three broad subjects including:

Business Management Modules: Plan For Better Business, Manage Your Business Finances, Increase Your Sales

Household Financial Management Modules: Using Wisdom in Saving, Plan For Better Health, Using Health Care Services

Health Management Modules: Confronting Malaria in Our Community, Preventing HIV/AIDS: It Is Our Choice, Diarrhea: Its Management and Prevention

During weekly meetings, many other important non-financial informational training sessions that promote transformation are addressed:

  • Building self-esteem and confidence through leadership development
  • Values enhancement through reflection, and discussion
  • Increasing awareness in social and environmental concerns
  • Networking and sharing business knowledgeToday I will share the Word at UOB Devotion. The message is titled "Every spiritual blessing IN CHRIST." It is the third of the series "IN CHRIST" which is the management and spiritual theme for UOB in 2012. May the good Lord bless us through the message.

Thank you for all your support that helps make this possible!



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Organization Information

Opportunity International

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Emily Engel
Oakbrook, IL United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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