"Life Is Just a Little Bit Better"
Created by its members two years ago in a rural community outside Kigali, Rwanda, the "Association Abateaninkunga" ("People Helping People") is a support group for AIDS widows and people living with AIDS. "At first," says Alphonse Bizima, president of the association, "we met once a week to pray together. That was it."
With training and a small loan from Africare, the group set up a soap-making enterprise — eventually producing 1,000 bars of soap a day. Physically, the work is not taxing and is done by the healthier members. Most of the soap is sold; the rest is for personal use. And the profits are shared among all.
"This project is helping us to find solutions to our own problems," Alphonse notes. "We make money to pay our kids' school fees and our medical costs. Life is just a little bit better."
People Helping People was one of many groups participating in a larger Africare HIV/AIDS-assistance program, spanning several Rwandan districts.