After surviving the 1994 genocide in
Rwanda, Marie-Claire learned that her husband had infected her with the HIV virus, which she’d then unknowingly passed on to her daughter, Bobette. Marie-Claire couldn’t afford medicine to save her daughter, or her husband, who was too sick to work. Life seemed hopeless.
With Women for Women International, Marie-Claire went through rights awareness training and was given direct cash assistance. She learned how to prevent further transmission of the virus and encouraged other women to get tested.
With the women in her group, Marie-Claire saved a few dollars each month until they were able to buy an electric mill. Now they run a milling business together, sharing the profits.
Upon realizing the success of her business, and recognizing the power of education, Marie-Claire opened a kindergarten in her village and taught 50 children to read and write. That kindergarten is still open and being run by local teachers.
Marie-Claire is "barely recognizable" from the woman who entered the program to the woman she is today - a smiling, energetic, healthy, confident woman, who makes enough money to buy medicine for her family, and can always put food on the table.