By Daniel Sabiiti
Former women hawkers in Musanze commonly known as “Abazunguzayi” will no longer have to worry about start-up capital after the district injected Rwf6 million to support their newly formed fruit business cooperative.
The women, who have also spent a year off the street vending business, had managed to form an association to become more organized and accountable to each other, but lacked capital to kickoff.
This donation will respond to worries of hawkers in the district, who had earlier on been asked by district officials to shift to an official market place to enable them to do fruit business in a more organized manner.
Some of the hawkers had been resistant to make the move, but with the funding support Musanze district officials believe that this will empower the women to do better business.
Habyirimana Damascène, the district vice mayor for economic affairs, says that it was important to empower the women after the district allocated the hawkers with a new market place.
“These funds will respond to their needs and in this way they will be able to operate professionally and change the welfare in the long run” Habyirimana said.
Seraphine Mukamuganga, one of the former hawkers said that she had problems with the idea of abandoning the streets as a result of being skeptical of the future of business in the new location.
She also says that forming a cooperative without substantial funds was a major challenge as most of the women had less or no savings and it was hard to convince them to join the cooperative.
“We have been looking forward to receive these funds and this was what we were worried about when we were asked to abandon the streets and form a cooperative without funds” Mukamuganga said.
Mukamuganga also states that there is hope that the women will make good use of the funding to improve their lives, since they had not been able to make a difference while on the streets.