Vestine’s Dream of supporting teen moms
NIYONSHUTI vestine, a resident of Kigarama sector in Kicukiro district whose dream of supporting fellow teen moms was going to be hindered because of living in extreme poverty, has now a smile on her face having been enrolled into the USAID ACHIVE Dreams project
The young woman who is an orphan, gave birth at the age of 18 and dropped out of high school in the fourth grade and the problems escalated after that because she had no job to earn a living and take care of her child. The only option was being taken care of by her relatives.
Vestine says that before she became a beneficiary of the USAID ACHIEVE / DREAMS project which is currently being implemented by YWCA in collaboration with the Pact Rwanda in Kicukiro District, she was always lonely and sad because of not being able to support herself and her child.
“It was easy to be deceived to have unprotected sex and get pregnant because I had nothing to do, I was poor and with no knowledge about sexual and reproductive health.” she said.
The mother of a 4-year-old child says her history has changed ever since she joined the USAID ACHIEVE / DREAMS project. As a beneficiary, she started meeting other girls with the similar problems through their safe spaces from where they shared their experiences. The platform increased her confidence and strength to stand firm with life having learned that it wasn’t her alone who had given birth at a tender age. Through the safe spaces, she also received psycho-social support and knowledge about sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) and financial literacy.
Upon receiving the financial literacy skills, Vestine started saving through the "Urugero saving group from where she had access to loans. She started a small scale business of fruit selling in Gikondo market in the city of Kigali after investing Rwf 65,000 she received as a grant from the USAID ACHIEVE / DREAMS project as one of the teen moms who is vulnerable. Her business escalated and has grown to net of 90,000 francs.
“I am grateful for being a USAID ACHIEVE project beneficiaries because a have achieved my dream of supporting other teen moms in the safe space by sharing them the knowledge on sexual and reproductive health especially how to count their menstrual cycles, having protected sex through the use of a condom and financial literacy skills. I myself can track my menstrual cycle and in as far as financial stability is concerned, I now save 1000 francs per week. I am also grateful that the project helped me create a job that alleviated my life from poverty and for the monthly sanitary pads that eased my menstrual periods.” Vestine stressed.
Vestine aims to be more progressive by showing that girls are capable and helping other girls who have given birth at a tender age to have the courage and fight all problems related to teen pregnancies.