On Monday the 2nd of November 2020, Jesuit Urumuri Centre launched the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program for Women Empowerment as part of the Centre’s Project on Emergency Response to the most vulnerable families in the time of COVID19 crisis, dubbed “Leave No One Behind”. The program has been named “Long walk to Recovery-Post COVID19 Period” and is meant to accompany these families (majority of them women) in creating a means of income for their families. The beneficiaries of this program will receive initial training in financial literacy before branching out into trainings in tailoring, hair dressing and baking.

The launch was attended by JUC programs manager Mr. Jean Julien Rugaba, trainers in this program Mr. Patrice Habinshuti, Mr Anaclet Bagirishya and Mrs Alphonsine Dushimimana Mukayisenga, as well 50 beneficiaries of the program from Cyahafi Parish in Gitega sector, Nyabisindu and Nyagatovu cells in Remera Sector. Speaking at this occasion, Mr Rugaba welcomed beneficiaries and assured them of the Centre’s commitment to training them efficiently for the benefit of their families’ self sustainability. He then encouraged them to also commit to these trainings as the beneficiaries were selected among many who wanted this opportunity too; “JUC is aware of the impact of this pandemic, which is why we spent quite some time conceptualizing and working on this program for the benefit of families most affected by the pandemic, please take full advantage of all you take away from these trainings”

This program was preceded by the first phase of “Leave No One Behind” Project which was emergency food distribution to vulnerable families for a period of 3 months, during which families especially in Kigali Urban areas, who had felt the impact of the measures taken by the government to contain the COVID19 pandemic, were in desperate need of assistance. Due to complete government lockdown, many families who depended on hand to mouth income and on the service industry were left with nothing to count on for provision of food for their families.

Even after the lockdown was lifted, these families were still facing uncertainty about their former sources of income, as many institutions remained closed and some employees were laid off. Women who previously worked as vendors on the streets were not allowed to continuing hustling in this manner.  JUC had predicted all of this happening, which is why the Centre had started working on this current program for the empowerment of women “Long Walk to Recovery – Post COVID19 period”.

The initial training which will be on financial literacy and will begin on Monday the 9th of November 2020, after which beneficiaries will separate into training groups of tailoring, hair dressing and baking. Training for tailoring will take 6 months while training for hair dressing and baking will take 3 months. After this, JUC will provide seed funding for selected beneficiaries of the program.

Henriette Mushimiyimana

JUC Communications Officer