Francoise Mukeshimana who ventured into poultry farming has a 15-year experience as primary school teacher at Groupe Scolaire Saint Paruti. She was among the first to join Umwalimu Sacco, a savings and credit cooperative created for teachers in 2008. Just like any other school teacher, the resident of Kicukiro struggled to rely only on a monthly salary.
In 2009, Mukeshimana decided to take an extra step and acquired a loan of Rwf 3 million. She bought a residential house and after paying it back, she applied for more 8 million in 2012. With this amount, she started a poultry farming venture with 200 chickens.
“I took time and visited different projects that other teachers had started. Later, I settled for poultry because I realized that it was easy for a beginner, and it also generated reasonable income in short period of time. I started my poultry farming business with 200chickens and more than doubled to 500 within two years,” she says.
The poultry farmer-teacher states that within the first season of 12 months, she was making a monthly profit of Rwf 300,000.
She was supposed to clear that loan in five years but managed to do so in three years. With the remaining money, she bought a house for rent.
After that Mukeshimana was credible enough to get the 3rd loan of 18 million in 2015. since venturing into poultry farming, She now has 2000 chickens.
Asked whether she plans to leave the teaching profession to concentrate on her growing poultry business, Mukeshimana says she loves teaching.
“And now that I have tasted on the fruits of being in that profession, it’s not my right time to leave. Instead, I think it is time to put in more effort so that my students get the quality education they deserve. Then I may hire people to assist me with the poultry farming work.”
Considering all the success she has attained though Umwalimu Sacco, Mukeshima mentions that she feels her dignity have been restored. She no longer complains about how the salary is inadequate. She looks forward to keep on progressing when she still has the opportunity to access loans and other facilities.
Some of the things she celebrates to have achieved include living in Kigali with her family in their own house she build from money she had from her poultry farming, and even being a landlord after many years of renting.
Her biggest dream is to build a modern house worth more than Rwf 100 million. With the money she has been saving, she thinks this can be fulfilled in less than two years.
She advises her fellow teachers who are still reluctant to get loans to make up their mind.
“Let them learn from those who have succeeded. There are many with outstanding projects, who have improved their wellbeing without complaining about how their salary is not helpful,” she advises.
Her husband, Jean Damascene Ndahayo, has been supporting her project and has seen it succeed. Realizing how much they have benefitted from Umwalimu Sacco. Ndahayo says that teachers have a great opportunity to get rich but many don’t realize it. He adds that he has tested the accomplishments of the profession, thanks to his wife.