Widowed and the mother of three children, Mrs. Nguruwe moved to Hatcliffe Extension near the capital city in 2004. Despite the lack of running water and electricity, their new home was a step up from a holding camp where social unrest prevailed and communicable diseases were rampant. As a head of household, she was interviewed and earned a place in AFSC’s Livelihood Program.

Mrs. Nguruwe was a star student in her leather-working classes, and she studied small business management as well. With funds from AFSC’s Savings and Loan Program, she started a home-based operation producing shoes, handbags, and sports bags. The quality and variety of her handmade products brought an invitation to exhibit at the Harare Agricultural Show. There she sold items, made contacts with prospective customers, and shared her experience with other women vendors. New orders arrived and Mrs. Nguruwe has steady work and income for the foreseeable future.

Again using Savings and Loan monies, she built a more substantial two-room house and furnished it, and as her business prospered, day-to-day expenses became more manageable. Mrs. Nguruwe repays her business loan on time and, in a gesture of support for her community, used some of her profits to help two orphans by paying their school fees. This is a great contribution in a country where education is not available to all children unless they can pay for it.

In addition to running her business, Mrs. Nguruwe has taken advantage of other Livelihood Program offerings. She’s attended leadership development and gender awareness workshops. And in a country beset with a high rate of HIV/AIDS, she has learned more about transmission and prevention so that she can share with information with her neighbors.

She’s proud of her accomplishments and economic success, and knows that with AFSC’s help, and with hard work, concern for community, and dedication to her children, a family’s dream can come true.

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This story appeared in AFSC’s Quaker Action publication Winter 2010 under the title, “A Family’s Dream Comes True in Zimbabwe”