2022 H4H Award Winner – Vincent Habiyaremye
We are happy to announce this year’s Homes for HOPE Award Honoree – Vincent Habiyaremye. When he was first introduced to Urwego Bank (HOPE International’s microfinance institution in Rwanda), Vincent was going door to door to offer his carpentry services, looking for any work he could find.
“Before this loan it was a struggle. [I had] an idea in mind, but I had no resource to support my idea.”
Without collateral, Vincent was unable to secure a loan from traditional banks. He joined a solidarity group with Urwego, a method that allows members to cross-guarantee each other’s loans instead of requiring individual collateral. With the funding he needed to make his dreams a reality, Vincent has grown his business immensely.
“Our living transformed.”
Vincent’s business has grown from his days as a solo, door-to-door carpenter to a large carpentry business and wholesale construction supply company employing about forty community members. His business is so well known that during the pandemic lockdowns, his team was invited to be part of a government initiative to build more schools to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. And not only was Vincent able to build a house for his family, he built three more houses to rent out, providing passive income for his family.
With revenue from his growing business, he has been able to send his own children to school as well as his two younger brothers and a niece, all of whom live with him. He also pays the school fees of five children from his community whose families cannot afford to pay, so that the children “will have an opportunity to change their status in the future.”
Though we would celebrate the flourishing of just one man and his family, this story is much bigger than one family. Vincent has a vision of lifting others with him as he rises. He has given generously to his church and built a home for some orphans in his community. He trains his young interns in carpentry and encourages them to start their own businesses. His adult daughters now also have their own businesses.
Vincent says that Urwego Bank has provided more than just money. “The bank staff prays for their clients in all meetings, whether we are receiving a loan or not. I took the same style as the bank and brought it into my staff management.” Vincent cares for his employees holistically and prays with them, just as his Urwego loan officer does. He encourages his employees to save by redacting an average of 40% of their salaries into a savings account that yields 5% interest. When the employees leave Vincent’s company, they are given their savings plus the interest earned, helping them to flourish wherever they go.
“Praying before doing anything has become our habit”
We celebrate the transformation in Vincent’s life and the resulting impact on his family, business, and community. Homes for HOPE is honored to present Vincent Habiyaremye with the 2022 Homes for HOPE Award.