Avatar of Zanabi, free woman and mayor of the Mouhanga village

Zanabi, free woman and mayor of the Mouhanga village

Zanabi, 40 years old

My name is Zanabi, I’m 40 years old. 13 children.

I am a Muslim and I live in the Nyamirambo sector in Kigali (Rwanda). I was lucky enough to be enrolled in the FXB program from 2006 to 2009.

My house is clean and well kept. It is white with small green shutters.

I used to live in poverty. My husband had odd jobs and I didn’t work. My children were failing in school because they had an empty stomach.

I met the FXB village program managers, her name was Hélène and his name was Jean de Dieu. They chose my family because we had been identified in the village as the most vulnerable. I will always remember their names, they changed my life.

They provided me with food, followed my children at school and helped pay the health insurance for the whole family. I thought my children were not cut out for school, but since then everything has changed: my daughter became a lieutenant in the army, one of my children is a mechanic, and one of my sons is studying computer science at university.

Everyone in my family has been able to take the HIV test, and I found out that my 12-year-old son was HIV-positive. The razors that were used to shorten their hair were poorly sanitized. Now we don’t use these tools anymore and my son was able to get treatment.

I have wanted to do crafts and knitting for a long time. Thanks to the money received from FXB, I was able to start a business, I sell my knitwear, I travel to Uganda to bring back clothes that I sell here, I have a business as a cook-caterer for weddings. I was also able to invest in a machine to make Manioc flour. My neighbours bring me their crop for me to process it.

FXB has taught me to “make the most of the time”, to plan my day, to have long-term projects. I now know how to manage my time because time lost never comes back.

I save money so I can invest. For example, I make more small, high-protein fish instead of meat.

My husband is a part-time driver, but I’m the one who mainly looks after the family. This position within my family has allowed me to ask my husband to end his relationship with a second wife he had married.

Finally, I was elected mayor of my village.