The Real Story on the Life of Brender Mukamana

The Real Story on the Life of Brender Mukamana

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The following story is told by the child of a CARE project participant, a refugee who lives in Rwanda’s Umutara province, an area with a persistent hunger problem. 

I am called Brender Mukamana, and I have 12 years. My mother is called Mukaferesi and my father died in 1998 after four years here in Rwanda.

We lived in bad conditions here – up to the extent of staying without what to eat or sometimes eating once in a day because of not having what to cook.

This life continues up to the time of starting my primary education, which was impossible to me because I had no energy, and I could not go to school on an empty stomach. And more to this, I could not get school fees, uniform and other needs a pupil needed before joining the school.

I had nowhere to get them from, so I did not go to school.

In the year 2004, here in Umutara province came an NGO called CARE. It came teaching people organized in associations to fight poverty using the system of saving weekly and giving out small credits in between. The members use [the credits] in small income-generating activities.

In choosing the association to work with, I was lucky. The association where my mother was a member was chosen to work with CARE International in Rwanda, because they were choosing associations of the very poor people.

During that time, my mother was told that they were going to start the saving system and will save 100 RWF [about 15 cents] weekly each member. My mother planned to leave that association because she said she could not get 100 francs to save every week.

I begged my mother to try and get what to save – at least once – so that we see if we can came out of poverty, which was becoming permanent at our home, and she accepted.

She went to look for where to dig for money, and after paying her, she got the money to take to their association. After their saving, she asked for a credit and bought bananas for sell and the profit is what we depended on at home and to continue saving weekly.

After three months of saving and credits, that is when we started eating twice a day, which was after 12 years of my life. It is after this – when I felt I had the brain and energy – [I] asked my mother to let me go to start schooling, though the time to start had past.

I am now in primary two while I was supposed to be completing primary education but I feel I will continue schooling up to the university.

Now, wherever I am, I always keep in mind the system of savings and credits because it is the only way I saw that fights poverty in the village.

When the day of saving in the association of my mother reaches, I wake up early in the morning and remind my mother of the saving because it is what my daily life depends on.

This system of savings and credits in the associations is very nice and effective in fighting poverty.  I have my sister called Scovia who had also failed to go to school because of my mother’s inability. But now she has started school and my mother has changed saving into a habit and she cannot miss any saving day.

I feel that we shall once live without poverty, continue school that we had failed to start, pass the exams and then complete our schools.

In concluding my testimony, allow me to thank NGO CARE-International because it has the effective system of fighting poverty in the rural area and giving back some rights to some people who had lost it with no reason.


Thank you.                                                                                         

Brender Mukamana

Brender Mukamana