Mary
28
Rwanda
Bead Maker
2 children

My parents died in the genocide, and my siblings and I were separated afterwards. Today I am 28 years old and live with my two children. Even though I lost my family, my children are now my source of strength and love; they are a source of sustenance in my life. People say that marriage brings a lot of happiness, but that was not true for me. I got married but my husband abandoned me after we had two children. My husband is an alcoholic and does not care for me or for his children; he rarely visits us. I have heard that when there is no hope in life, you seek solace in God. That’s what I did. I joined the church because nothing in my life had been good since the genocide. Then my pastor told me about a great thing: there was a group of women at the church who were learning to make paper beads. These women were like me and giving life a second chance. I took the opportunity and joined the group and learned to make beads. All Across Africa meets with us each week to discuss samples, products and orders. We are grateful we have a market. Every new bead necklace that I make gives me a hope that things are improving. Every new color I see gives me the security of a great future. It is reassuring for me to have this new security. What’s more, I now have a second job doing laundry. All Across Africa has given me faith again that I can work hard towards a more secure life.