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Hard Worker

Providing Clean Water to Fight Sexual Exploitation for Basic Needs

In a community on the outskirts of mountainous Kigali, a team of nineteen women led by Seraphine Hacimana have been particularly troubled by the 3-4 hour long journey they must embark upon each day to collect water down a long hill to a dirty creek bed. In addition to the disease and poor hygiene associated with poor water access, many of those who were left physically disabled or HIV positive from the genocide are unable to collect for their daily needs. Instead, they are forced to turn to local men with bicycle access, some of whom have begun exploiting them for sex in return for water delivery.

Hard Workers constructed a water tank within close walking distance of their village, which allows them to collect rain water in the rainy season and take delivery by truck during the dry seasons. The project has since expanded to another 3 sites and now supplies 5000-6000 people with fresh clean water. Furthermore, the team donates water to those in need including handicapped women, the blind, the elderly and the sick. Profits are further used to pay school fees for local orphans and buy health insurance for vulnerable women.

By providing clean and affordable water to their community members, Abanyamurava is working to reduce the prevalence of water related disease as well as diminish the vulnerability of women who are unable to make the long journey to what was previously the only other water source.

This project team serves 5,000-6,000 people with water daily. This social project also:

  • donates 10 jerry cans of water per tank to five orphan headed households,
  • provides free water 64 households where women are handicapped or otherwise unable to carry water,
  • pays the school fees for five children who are AIDS orphans or genocide orphans,
  • buys annual health insurance for 15 women and their families
  • earned team members prestigious government awards recognizing the impact of the project on the community.

Second and third grants from Global Grassroots and partner organizations allowed for expansion of this venture which is now operating 3 clean water collection sites, with a 4th in development. The team is creating partnerships with district leaders, Coojade Bank and the national water company (EWSA) who wants to work with them towards expansion in the area. All team members have been able to open their own bank account, and they now each own a goat, which helps provide nutrition to their families. Additionally, profits from those who are able to pay for water have allowed the team to create a non-profit micro-finance fund for vulnerable women.

Seraphine Hacimana began working with Global Grassroots in 2007, when she was a 36 year old mother of 8, living on the edge of survival. Although she only had a 1st grade education, she possessed great wisdom about her community and the passion to make a lasting impact. In the six years that Hard Workers has been operational, Seraphine has become what some have called a "serial change agent": She started an agricultural training project, designed an HIV awareness program, and launched a brick-making venture. Many others from all around the area have sought her expertise and she has taught others to become local change agents.

Her leadership has been recognized both locally and internationally. She has been interviewed on Rwandan radio about water rights, nationally recognized for her work by president Kagame and asked to speak at a conference in Kenya about Conflict Management and HIV/AIDS. In 2010 she was nominated for a CNN Hero Award and in 2012 her team, Hard Workers, was given a prestigious district award in recognition of their spirit of teamwork.

Seraphine Hacimana serves as a shining example of what women at the grassroots level can accomplish when their innate wisdom is trusted and they have access to resources and opportunity. She is quoted as saying "We are not strong because of what we have in our pockets, but because of believing, trusting and having consciousness."

Project Details

Abanyamurava: Hard Worker

Grant Amount: $2600
Team Size: 19 founding members
Social Impact: Estimated 5,000-6,000 People

Living Stories

Abanyamurava: Hard Worker

View Seraphine Hacimana of Abanyamurava

Abanyamurava: Hard Worker
by Global Grassroots

Once living on the edge of survival, Seraphine, a 39 year old mother of 8 children, with a 1st grade education, is now considered a community leader.

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Once living on the edge of survival, Seraphine, a mother of 8 children, with a 1st grade education, is now considered a community leader.

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