Plan International's VLSA loan aids teen mother
Denise has a daughter named Sandrine who is three-years-old. She got pregnant unexpectedly at 19, while she was still in school.
“I wasn’t expecting to get pregnant. I met someone and then, because I was poor and didn’t have enough money to support myself or buy the things that I needed, I got pregnant.
“We were neighbors –he was older than me, about 25 years old. When I found out about the pregnancy I asked him to support me, but he didn’t have enough money."
“I was rejected by my family because it was a disgrace for them. I was living with my mother and I gave birth there, but then I moved into my aunt’s home with my baby.”
After Denise became pregnant, she was often the target of bullying and this resulted in her leaving school.
“I cannot go back to school because this is the fourth year of my being out of school. When I left we were studying in French and now they're studying in English. Returning at my age would be very difficult for me. I’d never finish my studies. I’d be so much older than the others. I don’t think studying is my thing anymore. But, I’d like my daughter Sandrine to study at school. If I get enough money to buy uniforms and pay school fees, I will send her to school.
“I am married now. I live with my husband, who is 23 and a trader selling cereals such as maize. We intend to have more children, but I think we’d better wait for a little while."
“I got involved in the loans program because people were talking about a local NGO who was helping young people to get out of poverty."
“People said they would give us 100,000 Rwandan Francs or about $160 USD. We all rushed there, but when we arrived they taught us about saving, creating employment. It was just a way of gathering young people to teach them how to create their own employment and save. We formed groups and started to give a weekly contribution, and then we got funds. “Before selling bananas, I just helped my aunt to cultivate her land. Nowadays, I feel good because I get my own money. Even if sometimes the business doesn’t run as I had expected, even a little is good and I feel happy about that.”