Bampire Solange, 24, teen mother since impregnated at the age of 17 years old. She lives in Nyakabanda Sector, Nyarugenge District in Kigali City, and she is one of the beneficiaries enrolled in IGIRE-JYAMBERE Activity, whose life has been impacted by DREAMS project through various services received in safe.
At the age of 10, She dropped out of school due to her family's poverty following the death of her mother. At 17, she went to a party and was given unrecognized drugs by fellow colleagues which resulted in sexual intercourse without her consent and later she found herself pregnant and the father was an unknown person. As an orphan, her stepmother forced her to leave home, and she found herself alone while pregnant.
Photo 1: Using the skills she acquired at the vocational training school and the equipment she received from DREAMS Program, Bampire established a unisex hairdressing salon that has grown rapidly and is planning to expand in the future, as the number of customers has grown. Photo credit: DUHAMIC-ADRI
"When my dad and stepmother found out that I was pregnant, they chased me out of their house and told me to look for the one who impregnated me, and unfortunately I didn't know him," she says.
Solange left her home village in Kamonyi District, and moved to the city of Kigali, but found it extremely difficult. "When I arrived in Kigali, life became extremely difficult; I struggled a lot to the extent of not having meals and clothes. I fought as hard as I could, doing street vending to earn a living until I gave birth." she says.
After giving birth, life became even more challenging, as her responsibilities increased. For instance, she couldn’t afford to provide for her child. "Finding meals for my child was a problem, mostly I did not have enough money to pay for the rent, that miserable life continued until December 2021 when I got a privilege to be selected and joined the DREAMS project that’s when the page of my life turned," she says.
Through DREAMS project, Solange received education on HIV prevention, GBV prevention, sexual reproduction health and rights as well as provided with sanitary pads. Furthermore, ACHIEVE through DUHAMIC-ADRI supported Solange to enroll in technical vocational training and acquired marketable skills of hair dressing. Upon graduation in July 2022, she was given a start-up kit as well as financial capital to start her own business.
Photo 2.In contrast to her hopeless state then, Solange has become a self-reliant young woman with hope for a better future. Photo: DUHAMIC-ADRI
"Today I can afford three meals a day, even pay my rent and afford the basic needs for my child as well as school fees”, Solange said.
The business I am running is not only transforming my life, but it also transforming the lives of others because I am providing hairdressing job opportunities for other girls like me who are struggling to make a living." she adds.
Not only is Solange able to support herself and her child, she is also giving back to her community by training fellow young girls and women in Kigali how to become self-employed, confident and self-reliant. "I hope men won't entice them into harmful habits that may lead them to get infected with HIV/AIDS and/or get impregnated at a young age," she says.
Solange expresses her gratitude for the support provided by IGIRE-JYAMBERE Activity and requests the project to continue playing its role in empowering girls and young women.