Savera’s Story | Rwanda
Savera Mutemariya, a business owner served by Urwego Bank in Rwanda has been affected by COVID-19 and faced many difficulties, but she is also dreaming of the future.
“In the carpentry business, my dream is to buy good machines and get skilled workers that can produce quality work. This is what the people in my community want. I wish to buy a car for transport facilitation. One of the biggest challenges is to transport my stock,” shares Savera. “My dream is to educate my children and make sure that they complete university. My children are my happiness and when I see them going to school with passion, it makes me feel proud.”
For years, Savera and her husband struggled to support their family. She shares, “My life was very bad. Getting food was very hard. I didn’t have a house. I had three kids, but I wasn’t able to pay for school fees.” When Savera heard about Urwego Bank, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Rwanda, it sounded too good to be true. Surprised to hear that Urwego would work with women—something many banks refused to do—Savera eagerly signed up.
With her first loan of $30, Savera began a microbusiness selling peanuts at the market. “I came to realize I was capable,” she says. In the 10+ years since her first loan, Savera has used her entrepreneurial spirit and loans of increasing size—up to $10,000— to expand into multiple businesses. Employing 30 people in her community, she manages a supermarket, a hardware store, farming activity, a painting business, a carpentry business, and a group of rental properties.
Due to a strict COVID-19 lockdown in Rwanda, Savera had to temporarily shut down all her businesses. She is concerned that rising prices and a lack of public transportation will make it difficult for her to bounce back, but she trusts that Urwego, who she calls her second family, will support her through this time. As she continues to pay her employees and even help their families, she looks forward to future growth—for herself, her family, and her community.
“I have over 30 workers who I feed and pay for the work they do. With the COVID-19 impact on my businesses, it is hard for me to sustain these workers…Pray for my businesses to grow and serve my community…pray for COVID-19 to end.”
The Lynde Galloway Shop, one of HOPE’s partners, recently featured Savera and her businesses in a beautiful video highlighting their partnership with us. Check it out here.
If you or someone you know would love to start a Homes for HOPE project and be a part of serving entrepreneurs like Savera, please contact Matthew Baehr at 717-719-0313 or firstname.lastname@example.org