The Iriza-Ntako Heritage: Weaving training and work for teenage mothers
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Teenage pregnancy's have been a growing issue for many years in Rwanda. There are currently over 80.000 adolescent mums in the country, of which most got pregnant around the age of 15. The majority of these women grow up in poor homes with little formal education. In the Rwandan culture and history, discussing anything to do with sexuality is in most households seen as forbidden and most of the health facilities in the country do not offer sexual health services and information.
All these factors result in an increasing number of teenage mothers in the country. These women are often abandoned by their families and seen as liabilities. The ones who were going to school will have to drop our and lose the opportunity to a proper job.
In the year 2016, Souzane founded a cooperative known as the Iriza-Ntako Heritage, which empowers women by teaching them different weaving techniques and providing them with a jobs , so they can have an income, feed their children and even send them to school. The cooperative has been growing ever since and even now has an arm that trains teenage mothers, also teaching them to financially independent.
Here’s an excerpt from when we spoke to Souzane as she recounted her experience when the Local Police of Rwanda and the Local Leaders at the Musha sector talked to her about taking teenage mothers into her program:
I must admit that I panicked; I had to explain to them that I could not afford to offer my help to all of them since my income was limited, and the lending house from Rwamagana district was not big enough. I was forced to pick the 34 women I could see had the willingness to attend the training and had a low-income family background, and at that moment, the Mwiteho Project means care she was born.
Souzane is already doing an amazing job. However, the profit made from their enterprises is only enough to cover the cost of production, and there's not enough to be able to enroll more women for training.
If you like to support Souzane's project and help her empower more Rwandan teenage mothers, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org