MANASSE NTWARI from Rwanda works to serve vulnerable families through his community development work and credit savings groups. He's also a Cluster member. In this Q+A he tells us about his life and work.
Introduce yourself! I’m 34 years of age. I was born and raised in Rwanda. I’m married with a son. I have a degree in public administration and I currently I work with an NGO called Spark Microgrants. We help communities with sustainable development.
What makes you proud to be from your community? It made me who I am today! Even though my family didn’t struggle to access our basic needs, some of my neighbours did. And that’s where I got my passion to work with vulnerable families.
Tell us about your family. I lost my parents at the age of twelve, and this changed my life drastically. Other relatives stood by my side and enabled me and my five siblings to complete our studies. And today we have all graduated with bachelor’s degrees!
Sorry about your parents. Did the pain you suffered then help shape your life today? Yes, it taught me to be responsible at a young age. I try to be responsible in everything I do. It helped me grow physically and mentally as well.
How did you get involved with Arukah? I met with the Cluster Mobiliser Hormis through my work helping vulnerable children access education. He told me about Arukah and I joined without giving it a second thought!
What do you think is your best Cluster achievement so far? I’m particularly impressed with how we have been able to support struggling families during the pandemic.
And what are some of the challenges you’ve faced? We're young and have few resources, so we're still working out how to achieve our goals. And some members still don’t understand the Arukah philosophy, but as it gets clearer to them, we will grow.
What are some of your hopes for the future? It's my prayer that one day I will run an organisation of my own. I also hope to see Arukah’s name rise up to be one of the most well-known organisations in Rwanda! We just need to spread the Arukah philosophy.
Tell us one thing that excites you. I love to watch my son grow. And I also love to be with my family - we share lots about our past life events and other memorable moments. I also enjoy traveling to the rural village where I grew up - I like to rekindle my childhood memories!
How do you spend your time outside of work and family life? I’m a member of four savings and credit groups and I’m in the leadership committees, and so most of my weekend’s I’m involved in the saving groups’ activities. I also like to run half marathons. And I'm an Arsenal fan - I keep getting disappointed that they don't win!
What do you do with the money you save in the groups? The savings can be used for doing a group project or issuing out loans to members who gave it back with some profit.
Thanks for your time Manasse! We appreciate you.