The following photos and article were composed by our Youth Reporter on the Ground Dorcas Rachetée Ishimwe of our affiliate STRIECI in Rwanda and are part of our campaign to celebrate International Day of Street Vendors 2021.
NAMBAJIMANA is a 28 years old street vendor. She has been doing this business for three years. She never had a chance of working in the market due to financial issues. She came in Kigali from her hometown, where she used to do farming activities with her family members. Life in the village was difficult. The low standard of living and the fact that she wasn’t able to go to school made it hard for her to find a job.
In all those three years of selling mostly avocadoes and fruits, Nambajimana has had to face different challenges. What she was doing was considered almost illegal. She had different encounters with the authorities, the worst one being when she had to spend a week in jail.
Luckily enough, she was able to go out but she never went to trade in the city again out of fear. She started doing door to door trading in communities which were less controlled by the authorities.
Nambajimana said: “I couldn’t go back. I was scared and worried for my baby. Going to all those dangerous places with my son where I had to run almost all day was not an option”. Despite all the hardship she faced in her line of work, she was never discouraged. She managed to fend for her small family and joined various saving programs. Nambajimana also moved her only child from the village and enrolled him in a better school here in the city.
She is looking for any way possible she can get enough capital and start working in the market or open her own shop, especially for fruits and vegetables. She is also open to learning new skills, such as tailoring or hair styling.
“I really want to work formally, and be able to save enough for my son’s future. And by doing that I will need help from the government or other sponsors. I can’t do it alone with all bills that I pay regularly” she said.
There are some government programs and projects that work in favor of people like Nambajimana, and there is also STRIECI Rwanda which does advocacy for the same people. This means there is hope that her wish and dream, the same like other street vendors’, might be come true as soon as possible.