Students from Indiana University, Kelley School of Business MBA program, provide project support
Due to unique accomplishments and progress in making the world safer for Women, Safe World for Women was selected by students of the Kelley School of Business MBA program, for special project support.
Kelley School of Business is a top 10 MBA school in the United States.
The MBA students recognized Safe World for Women as an organization that is making a difference in the world. The work they completed provided support in maximizing programs for success of women and Safe World Field Partners in many regions of the globe.
Safe World Field Partner, COFAPRI, was selected by the MBA student team at the Kelley School of Business to help develop and adapt the business program, which was originally devised by the Power of Love Foundation.
The Kelley School MBA student team also generously provided a donation to COFAPRI towards business start-up funding for a pilot study.
Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile, Founder and Executive Director of COFAPRI, reports on the project
COFAPRI Women Start Micro-Businesses
Early in September 2014, I travelled back across the border again, to the DR Congo, to meet with the members of our grassroots organization, COFAPRI. The members held various activities among which the women were presented with the funds which Kelley School students generously gave to COFAPRI women to set up small businesses.
For two weeks in September 2014, I had been following activities related to conducting a small business with a team of MBA students from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, in the USA - working remotely online from Rwanda with the MBA students in the USA.
The Women of Nyangezi
The women who benefited from the funds come from Nyangezi. The majority of the population of Nyangezi is comprised of women. These women subsist on rudimentary cultivation that hardly produces anything. The area is strongly paternalistic and most women are uneducated, as well as their children.
Most children do not attend school due to poverty and discrimination directed toward them. The discriminated children are those born of raped mothers; they have no fathers but are discriminated by their mother’s family of the community, as they were born to an enemy.
The girls who are discriminated against also suffer local beliefs that state that girls do not perform well at school like boys – and that girls will get married and leave a gap in their families, so no need to educate them as they will never ever be helpful to their parents.
The area was seriously hit by the unending wars, thus many women are survivors of rape and domestic violence. The women stay home most of the time taking care of the children.
COFAPRI members are comprised of women, girls, men, and boys. The majority of them are women and girls. The women (and girls) who were identified to benefit from the donated funds were those who have been seriously affected by poverty.
Five beneficiaries selected by COFAPRI members
As the funds could not help all the women in critical conditions, some of them were selected. The members themselves selected the beneficiary members whom they believed deserve to start a small business as they know themselves better than anyone else. It is in this context that five women were selected.
The selected women are those who are totally destitute - some are totally dependent on their husbands, and others have been widowed by the unending wars the country has been experiencing since 1996 and suffer family discrimination.
The women and girls do not come from the same village. The five selected women come from five different surrounding villages. All of them had no previous activity and they very thankful to the team from the Kelley school for the funds.
These women, despite the harsh conditions they live in, have a lot of children. The member who has the least number of children has four.
Huge thanks to the MBA student team at the Kelley School of Business!
The women will be selling their products to the people in the village. In Nyangezi, there are only two days when they organize market selling and buying; they are on Thursdays and on Sundays. The women are committed and in some months, they will have advanced a lot in their business and so they can help their children and other women on their team.
The amount received from the Kelley School student team, towrds start-up business costs, was 250 US$; it was distributed to five women, making 50 US$ for each woman.
The women themselves suggested that they contribute 5 US$ every month to a central 'pot' of funds, and once another 50 dollars has accumulated, they give it to another member, and so on. So that, in the long run, each member will be involved in her own small business.
“This is a big amount of money; I had never got this before.
I will use it carefully to help me build a nice future for me, my children and my fellow members.
As we have market two days a week, the other days after coming from the field; I will go to sell my goods in the evening.
I will follow the instructions you gave us to make the fund productive.”
"I feel very happy today thanks to the funds.
Now, me too, I will leave the compound as you have helped me to start this business.
I will be selling bananas, groundnuts, sugar and salt. This business will help me a lot. I promise I will use the money well. I have to make profit and become a big business woman.
With my two hands, I say thanks a lot, thank you very much."
Nsimire Binja, from Mushego village, aged 23 and mother of 4 has been widowed by the war and is living alone in a small house.
“God is great. He has heard my prayers and he has reacted through you here.
I had been suffering, staying home with my child doing nothing as I have no land to cultivate. Everything was taken by my husband.
I will be selling cooking oil, paraffin [kerosene] and will see other things people can buy here.
I have nothing to say but many many thanks to the students from the Kelley School. They are wonderful and we like them helping us here.”
Furaha Mireille, from Burhyogo village, has been raped and has a child from the rape. Aged 24 and rejected by her husband, she lives alone with her child.
“This is not a huge amount but I will make it big by using it well.
If I follow what you explained, I am sure in some time I will get an important amount... We thank this school; they are nice and kind to us.”
M’Nzonga Lwinji, from Cishashu village.
“I did not get the money but I am certain those who got will use it well so that we who did not get will benefit of the profit they will make.
If we work in a team with the aim of reaching the objective of becoming self-dependent and relying on ourselves, we can do more and this is possible if we want; I ask Kelley to think of us in the future too; I thank Kelley for the good heart, helping us in the villages where we live.”
Iragi Nshobole, from Munya village.
In a nutshell, in my opinion I believe these women are inspired with important thoughts and ideas that they can use to do small business in their respective villages.
Being aware of the severe situation in which they are living and being offered this amount of money, their commitment will help them make their way toward great achievement of making their future better.