Working Out of Poverty

Diane, the credit manager, and Francoise

By Joelle Inashaka

When you sit in the reception area of Kazoza finance, there’s a picture that has often attracted my attention. It’s a picture of a lady counting money with a huge smile on her face. It’s the picture of Francoise Rugema.

She is divorced with 5 children, the oldest is attending university and her baby is the 8th grade. She is a confident lady. I introduced myself and said that I’d be asking her questions about what she’s benefited from Kazoza finance as a client, she smiled and said ‘Yesu Yaranshoboje’ (literally – Jesus made me able).

What was business like before Kazoza?

Before Kazoza, she would borrow money from neighbors. She became the talk of the neighborhood, and though she had no choice, she was often times embarrassed.

She is appreciative that her loans are a private matter between her and her banker now. She is also appreciative that her loans are bigger and allow her to expand her business.

pressing the palm oil

What does business look like for Francoise?

She makes and sells palm oil. The refuse from this is usually sold to a bigger industry that uses the by-product for soap manufacturing. She has 2 partners and together they employ about 6 people to do the oil production.

She also has a stand at the market in Kinama, where she sells palm oil as well as flour. She personally works at the stand. She has also a warehouse that people use to stock goods, and that earns her some money monthly.

working in the marketplace

What has she gained from her businesses?

First she is grateful that she is always able to always make her monthly payment on time. She can always count on having a profit in her businesses monthly. Her children are able to attend school, eat well and dress well. (Even she dresses with elegance!)

She is confident and trusts that God will prosper her in all things.

Her neighbors trust her again. She’s repeatedly been chosen to be the president of her cooperative group by her co-borrowers. She has respect within her community.

Her greatest achievement to date has been the fact that she bought her plot of land where she can her house! She says she has bigger plans to achieve, and has so enjoyed working with Kazoza finance. She is also grateful that she shares her faith openly with her creditors whom she so enjoys to see.