The hotel which is a flagship of the Marriott International, giant global brand provided jobs to 26 of them in 2016 under its partnership with Women for Women International.
Five former trainees of Women for Women who now work with Kigali Marriott Hotel shared the experience and progress they have attained in a bid to inspire around 100 others in attendance.
The testimonies rotated round the hardships the five went through prior to joining the charity and the hotel and how their lives have quickly changed since June 2016 when they got descent employment which was a dream to women who did not manage to complete secondary school.
Marthe Mukambonera, 58, who is working in Marriott’s housekeeping as a tailor, said she was formerly frustrated by doing home chores while her husband was the only bread winner for the family of four children living in Gikondo, Kicukuro District.
“Women for Women found me among the vulnerable women and gave us training in 2013.We were told in 2016 that the giant hotel brand called Marriott was going to open operations in Rwanda and that they wanted some us who were trained by Women for Women. We were taken to that centre in Kayonza for further training,” she said.
“Joining Marriott has earned me a lot. Together with my husband, we have started developing a house at the budget of Rwf45 million, now standing at the value of Rwf30 million as we continue to finish it. We do not know English language but we do our work properly, we have received credits many times.”
English language is the major medium of communication at Kigali Marriott Hotel.
Adalie Umutoniwase, who is also in housekeeping at Kigali Marriott Hotel, said she lived a miserable life that forced her to drop out of school from senior five and got her hopes for the future swept away.
“I joined Women for Women in 2012 and got trained in doing business. I was a poor woman before securing a job at Marriott but I have now attained good development. I can save money every month after daily expenditures plus my two children’s school fees that total to Rwf80,000 per term. I managed to secure a loan of Rwf2 million, added Rwf2 million that I had saved and bought a house at Rwf4 million recently,” said the mother of two living with her husband in Gitega Sector, Nyarugenge District.
Yulia Bogdanova, the Human Resource Director at Kigali Marriott Hotel who led the delegation to Kayonza, said the Women for Women graduates have emerged among the best performing members of staff at the hotel.
She encouraged other women to save some money out of their earnings, have self-esteem to do great things and told them that, with hard work, they have to keep up hope for better life.
Hope for future
Expressing gladness over their fellow women’s success, the participants branded the testimonies “inspirational” and committed to follow suit as they have already started the journey under Women for Women guidance.
“With the good leadership of our country that highly values women, my future is good. Despite the fact that I never stepped in class, I have acquired a lot of skills about doing business, saving and family management thanks to Women for Women’s training,” said Latifah Mugorewishyaka, a resident of Mukarange in Kayonza District.
Kayonza Vice-Mayor in charge of Finance and Economic Development, Consolée Uwibambe commended Kigali Marriott Hotel for employing the formerly vulnerable women and taking them back to the women’s centre to inspire and encourage others.
She encouraged women at the centre to increase production of their different products such as Urugo yogurt and pledged advocacy for a wider market.
Antoinette Uwimana, the Country Director of Women for Women International, said the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Centre that started in 2013 has so far trained over 5,000 in different professional courses such as basket weaving, cultural and community tourism, housekeeping, culinary, modern farming, among others.
“We also train women about business and give them toolkits to start out. This is the main centre but we also train women from other centres in seven districts around the country. Most of them create jobs, we help some to find good jobs that get them good capital to quickly change their lives. Like these ones who got jobs at Marriott are developing very quickly because of the good pay,” She said.
Uwimana commended Kigali Marriott Hotel for taking back women who were trained by Women for Women to share their testimonies, saying that it is inspirational and giving others hope that, with commitment and hard work, a good future is possible.