Literacy for livelihoods

Habarurema Dafrose Rusangiza, 48 from Nyiragongo
Photo: ActionAid
Zimbabwe team
Communications Focal Person

I am the Communications Focal Person for ActionAid Zimbabwe.

Habarurema Dafrose Rusangiza (48) from Nyiragongo Territory, North Kivu Province, east Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who could not read and write, started a small business for the first time in her life after attending a training on literacy and numeracy, supported by ActionAid.

I was not able to read, write my name or even calculate.  I was relying on farming potatoes only but now I am selling the potatoe seeds within the community. I never used to have any money I could save. Right now, I have US$80 from my potatoe business and I will use part of it to pay fees for my children, said Habarurema, a widow and mother of six children.

In addition to selling potatoe seedlings, Habarurema said she has become a local bank for the community as she lends money to other women and gives them a 10% interest when they return.

Prior to the literacy training, I could not even calculate the interest as I could not count also. I can now calculate the profit I am making and I am able to make sure that when I make money I do not use all my profit. I make sure some of the profit I return it back to my business so that it continues to increase, says the jovial Habarurema.

Following the support from ActionAid, Habarurema said she now recognises the importance of educating children, especially the girl child who like herself has not been prioritised with regards to education due to cultural norms and beliefs that only value educating males.

To date, ActionAid has supported about 1520 women in Nyiragongo on various initiatives including literacy and numeracy and farming trainings to address the structural causes of violence against women and secure thier economic justice.