Meet the merry mother of 7, Theresa Mukasine. She is 56 years old. Her face is always lit with gaiety. Mukasine is a member of Isangano Cooperative, based in Karongi District. This cooperative is made up of 30 women. Before joining the cooperative, Mukasine didn’t hold the cheerful look she has lately. She was a cranky & grumpy woman. She didn’t know how to keep good hygiene.
“I didn’t even know how to bathe-I didn’t know a thing about hygiene. I was ignorant and clueless about several things. I didn’t even think it was important to take my children to school because I didn’t know how vital it was,” Mukasine recollects.
She had no source of income and solely depended on her husband for hers and their children’s needs. And since she relied on him for everything, he would abuse her at times. Mukasine and her husband had a piece of land but she had no say about it. The husband would choose to sell it off without consulting her.
Through empowerment programmes by ActionAid and its partners, Mukasine’s life was transformed. She’s now skilled in business, knows her rights and ensures proper hygiene for her and her family.
“Through ActionAid and its partners, I and several other women have been empowered with knowledge and skills that have upgraded our lives. We were trained to know our rights. Now I know my rights and land rights among others. We were also empowered with income generating skills, how to save money and have it grow. ActionAid also gave us seeds to grow corn and supported us to start a maize milling factory. Today, we process maize flour and sell it off to earn income. Other members of this cooperative and I are able to meet our needs unlike before,” she joyfully narrates.
Mukasine is now the President of Isangano Cooperative. Her husband isn’t the only breadwinner today as she also contributes to her family’s needs. She also pays for their health insurances and ensures that her children go school. Her husband respects her more and consults her in making decisions related to their property. They also recently purchased another piece of land for their family.