LEMERA, A Safe Haven for Bonifrida’s Family.

Bonifrida (pictured above) was a-part of the Entrepreneurship Training in Lemera. The project trained 35 women, in February 2019, with the aim of increasing their income, livelihoods, adapt a self-reliant mindset and become entrepreneurial. This project was carried out in partnership with Pingst Molndal, Children’s Mission Africa (CMA) and VAS Women’s Group. One year later, in February 2020, 30 women gathered to share their experiences, lessons and achievements.

VAS Women’s Group during a session in Febraury 2020

Bonifrida inspired the fellow ladies with her story of hope. Behind her beautiful smile and bubbly persona, she shared a story of loss, voyaging and hope. Bonifrida lost her husband, 2 children and home during the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Bonifrida and one son survived and fled. They lived in different parts of DRC and Burundi before settling in Lemera. She did not make it to Lemera with her son-death struck its sting again robbing her of her 18-year old son.

Lemera offered Bonifrida a blank canvas marked with opportunity. She found a new home, remarried and was blessed with 3 children. Unfortunately, her second husband too later died. Bonifrida chooses to look at the hope that remains. She appreciates what she has- 3 lovely children, a roof over her head, access to health care and a pastries business.

“I used the knowledge from the entrepreneurship trainings to start a pastry business that sells – Mabenye to locals in Lemera. Lessons on customer service and choosing a business location have helped boast my business. I identified a vantage location that helps me sell out and I ensure I am polite to all customers”, shares Bonifrida.

Despite the insecurity, kidnappings and gender-based challenges in Lemera, it remains a beacon of hope for Bonifrida. After her loss and years of voyaging, Lemera has offered Bonifrida a safe haven to establish a business and care for her children. “The income from my business has helped me buy shoes and clothes for my children. I am able to meet household needs and this has encouraged me to continue growing my business”, she concludes

Bonifrida is not the only one reaping benefits from applying lessons from the training. A majority of the women have operating income generating activities such as selling vegetables, second-hand clothes, sugar, pastries among other activities. Others were working in their farms to produce a surplus for sale – maize, beans, vegetables and cassava being popular in the area.

A leaders training was part of the one-week activities and was conducted by Mercy Murigi from Children’s Mission Africa. She equipped the leaders with skills and knowledge in projects management, proposal writing, financial reporting, children’s rights, human rights, among others. We thank God for the work He has enabled us to do in Lemera and are interested in continuing our work with the community in Lemera and VAS women”, she adds