The couple confronting domestic Violence

Herman Shumbusho and Marie Savera Ufitamahoro live with their three young children in Nombe village, not far from the Rwandan capital. The couple has seen a complete transformation in their household since they became involved in the Every Voice Counts (EVC) programme.

Marie’s childhood was difficult: “I grew up in a poor family and I was the fifth child out of ten. My dad did not have enough means to help us and I did not complete primary school. I thought marrying Shumbusho would be a hiding place for me. Little did I know that the man of my dreams would be tough on me,” she explains. Shumbusho continues: “Instead of bringing home all the money I had earned in a day, I would come home drunk at midnight and beat my wife

It was when a role model from the EVC programme visited their home to discuss domestic violence, that things started to change. Thanks to the regular visits and encouragement from Theogene, Marie started to earn an income through selling vegetables at the market and Shumbusho slowly started to value her contribution. He also gave up alcohol. Shumbusho explains: “I learnt that a husband and wife should respect each other and that every voice matters in a household and across the nation. The fact that men look only at their own interests hinders the development of women.”

It is not just at home where the couple has seen change. Previously, Shumbusho did not allow Marie to participate in community meetings or a savings group. Marie explains: “I am now a member of a Village Savings & Loans Association from which I have taken out a loan to buy a small plot of land to grow vegetables on.” Marie has also grown so much in confidence that she has put forward ideas to the community assembly, including recommending that all women in the wider community join a savings group.

“Before, I wouldn’t let my wife attend village meetings, now she is sharing ideas that can benefit the entire community.”

Herman Shumbusho

The couple has now been appointed as role models by their church, helping other families to resolve conflict. Shumbusho has also encouraged other men to allow their wives to participate in their community. Marie adds: “Women need to be daring in seeking more responsibilities. I have witnessed tremendous results from overcoming my fear to do business.”

Shumbusho is proud of all that Marie has achieved, adding: “Our neighbours are now confident that my wife can give a strong argument that can benefit the entire community. My wish is that she can share her testimony nationally.”