Now I Have Hope: Janviere's Story

Now I Have Hope: Janviere's Story

1/7/17

Geoffrey Kayijuka Munyaneza from CARE Rwanda writes:

Teenage pregnancy occurs in all societies, with considerable variation in magnitude and consequences among different countries and regions. In each case, a variety of complex socioeconomic factors are involved, including but not limited to poverty, communities’ and families’ acceptance of child marriage, culture behaviors, gender inequality, sexual violence, and lack of adequate education.

Adolescent pregnancy is not only a health issue, but also an issue of human rights and development. Pregnancy undermines a girl’s ability to exercise her rights to education, health and autonomy. It also prevents her from realizing her potential and adversely impacts the baby.

In Rwanda, despite all the measures and actions put in place to fight teenage pregnancy, young girls continue to be affected, although to a lesser extent that other sub-Saharan countries. This is still a very real challenge for girls, especially in the pursuit of education and skills. Our storyteller, Janviere, is no exception.

HUYE DISTRICT, RWANDA – My name is Janviere Nyirahabyarimana. I am 18 years old, and the mother of a 7-month-old baby girl. I live with my mother and four elder brothers in Rango village, about 4 miles away from the nearest town in the southern province of Rwanda. I completed one year of high school but was unable to continue my studies due to a lack of means and my early pregnancy.

I was already living a miserable life, and the situation became worse when I got pregnant and my family abandoned me. As a result, I was desperate and hopeless.

With the support of CARE’s project called Financial Inclusion for Out-of-School Adolescent Girls (FINAG), through its savings and loan group, I have been able to save money and get access to small loans that have helped me start up a small income-generating activity, selling bananas. As a result, I can afford medical insurance for myself and my baby.

Through the group, I have also bought a goat and pig worth 25,000 Rwandan francs (US$30). My start-up capital was 3,000 Rwf ($3.60), and currently my capital is 15,000 Rwf ($18). This is a very big step in my life.

Today I tell a different story, that I am happy and hopeful for a better future. I have a vision of becoming a famous businesswoman in our sector and building a new house to live in. Furthermore, I have gained friends and advisers – especially a mentor, who cares so much. In fact, now I am proud of being a girl.

CARE and its partner Girl Hub Rwanda started the FINAG project to address the issues of adolescent pregnancies and school dropout among girls. Early pregnancy not only is a major cause of school dropout for young female adolescent in Rwanda, but also is a barrier to many economic opportunities. In fact, about 90 percent of the fastest growing jobs in Rwanda require some postsecondary education. To face that challenge, FINAG promotes financial inclusion of out-of-school girls between the ages of 14 and 19, intended to demonstrate an effective, sustainable and replicable approach to access and usage of financial services. The overall goal of the project is to ensure that girls claim and enjoy their rights to full economic participation and contribute to the development and prosperity of their families and communities.

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