By Jessica Roy

If you give a girl a chicken….

Story shared with permission from our partner, Komera 

Give a girl a chicken and feed her for a day; teach a girl to dream and watch her turn five chickens into a flourishing business of sixty, generate income for her family, support her five younger siblings in school, and receive a full-tuition scholarship to university! Komera invests in transformational change for young women, their families, and their community. This year we are breaking out beyond our School Bag appeal and sharing the story of Gaudance and her chickens with you!

Gaudance and her family of eight were struggling as subsistence farmers; their lives depending on the food they grew. Money was scarce and therefore her family was unable to afford her school fees. In 2016, her future changed as she was selected to join the Komera Scholar Program. In addition to receiving a comprehensive educational scholarship and deep mentorship support, Gaudance was taught skills in finance and goal setting which sparked her dream of being a business woman.

Gaudance began to save and study. Her parents joined the Parent and Guardian Cooperative, so the whole family was becoming business savvy! After months of shared saving, they had enough money to purchase their first five hens. While Gaudance was thriving at school, her parents cared for the flock, and school breaks allowed her to return home to develop her business and generate income for the family. By the time she completed secondary school in 2018, her flock had grown to over sixty chickens and her family started selling sixteen eggs a day to local restaurants and markets. With this success, Gaudance’s family was able to send her five younger siblings to primary school for the very first time! In the Komera Post-Secondary Transition Program, Komera’s team taught Gaudance about business development, giving her tips for managing her work and sustaining her income. They also helped her apply for university entrance to help her achieve her goal of becoming a professional business woman. When she was chosen by the government to attend university and receive a government scholarship, we were all thrilled!

Gaudance, Komera Social Worker Manager Ruth, and Gaudance’s mother feeding their chickens

Now, Gaudance is in her first semester at the University of Rwanda! She’s following her dream and studying Agri-Econmics while her family cares for the chickens at home. She is looking to the future with big ideas for the expansion of her small family business. She wants to build standard coops for her chickens and to buy an incubator machine for the chicks instead of using mother hens to make their egg production more efficient, using what she learned through Komera trainings to take an innovative approach to support and grow her business!

Gaudance told us, “Had it not been for Komera, I would not be the one that I am today!” Just three years ago, she was worried she wouldn’t even be able to complete secondary school. Now she’s a successful business woman, attending university and supporting her family! Your support makes these stories of transformation, victory, and self-confidence possible. We are taking you Beyond the Bag, to see how you can have an impact on young women’s dreams, families, and communities.