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Clémence is 52 years old and has five children. Her husband is in prison for participating in the genocide. “Aspire has stopped me from being lonely – this is the most important thing it has done for me. I also appreciate it when we meet and plan, exchange ideas and then see the implementation of what we discussed.

My life before becoming part of Aspire was hard. My husband was arrested shortly after the war (1994), leaving me with five small children. I had a job working in a hospital, but after the war I was sacked. I came to this area and did not know what to do. I tried to sell what little we had left after the war.

“I struggled alone. I knew my children needed to stay in school, but people were so unfriendly towards me. Then I joined Aspire and life became easier. Coming here helps me to forget my troubles. I have worked hard through these difficult times – it has taught me about patience, but also has given me the heart to help others. I am proud of my children, especially my daughters. I am also proud of myself – there is now always food on the table. This group, working together, has helped me so much and they are all my friends – not just business partners. I am determined that our group will have a more sustainable income and that we will set up a bakery together. Now that I am earning money even the shopkeepers have confidence in me. They will give me credit and know that I will pay it back. I have respect in the community. They say ‘those are the working women’. “