A new initiative: ITEKA Micro-finance
Initially, the goal of Maison Shalom was to protect child victims of war. After 17 years of working in the community to provide assistance to orphans, street children, young children and babies in prison (infants with their mothers) and the children of poverty-stricken parents, Maison Shalom has observed that there are still poor people in need of help. Much of the population lives in extreme poverty. Eradicating that poverty is the only lasting solution to the problem. To do this, people must be able to start small productive agricultural or pastoral projects, run small businesses, set up workshops – they do not need aid distributions. No matter how modest, however, such initiatives need seed capital. Because the people concerned are too poor to put up the collateral for a bank loan, they are cut off from financing. In Ruyigi, there is no microfinance company. The idea and mission driving this new initiative, ITEKA Microfinance, is to help eliminate extreme poverty by developing saving and microcredit services for people with very low incomes. Those people can then produce, have purchasing power to meet their needs, and save. The idea is to provide the impetus for the socio-economic development of the poorest sector of the population.
Maison Shalom launched this new initiative at a conference attended by the governor of Ruyigi province, a parliamentarian representing Ruyigi province and other dignitaries on 27 May 2011.
Reintegration of a street child
Amédée N. (in white trousers and red sweater), 14, left school in 5th grade after running away from home. He started living rough, selling peanuts to cafés, exposed to all kinds of dangers. Maggy came across him at 10 p.m. in the street and took him home with her.
Social worker Charlotte and Swiss intern Daniela went into the field to find members of his extended family so that he could be reintegrated. They called a family council. One of his paternal uncles agreed to take him in. Amédée has returned to school as an auditor. In September he will repeat the school year.
14-year-old rape victim also HIV-positive
Evelyne, 14, has just delivered her baby by Caesarean section at Maison Shalom’s REMA Hospital. She was raped in prison, where she was living with her little sister, Chantal, and their mother, who was given a life sentence for infanticide.
During the rape, Evelyne was contaminated by the rapist. She is now seropositive and has started receiving antiretroviral treatment at REMA Hospital.
Maison Shalom takes charge of children like Evelyne and Chantal, who end up in prison simply because their mothers have been incarcerated.