The Strength to Rebuild Your Life: Janet's Story

There is true strength in being able to face a disaster and push forward—in working hard despite everything that’s gone wrong. Janet Ntakirutimana of Rwanda exudes this kind of strength.


Finding Strength after Tragedy


Imagine being HIV positive, having your spouse die from the same disease in your body, and living in a refugee camp. How does a person find strength and hope in such circumstances? For Janet, strength was found in her care for her two sons.

Everything changed for Janet the day she attended the seminar “Preventing Mother to Child HIV Transmission.” At this seminar, Janet met the future members of Ejo Hazaza. According to Jesus’ Economy’s partner, Indego Africa: 

“The women decided to come together to form a cooperative so that they [could] afford baby formula, as an alternative to breastfeeding, to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to their children.” 

And so Ejo Hazaza began.

Beaded Wrap Bracelet -- All Fair TradeJanet serves as the Secretary for Ejo Hazaza, which is based outside of Kigali, Rwanda. The cooperative includes 29 women, all of whom came from refugee camps, are HIV positive, and desire sustainable incomes. They make products like the Beaded Wrap Bracelet, which is sold in Jesus’ Economy’s fair trade shop.

Empowering Women Together

Ejo Hazaza partners with Indego Africa to sell their beaded products. Indego Africa is working with more than 400 female artisans across nine different cooperatives, using products that come from these cooperatives to positively change lives. They connect women artisans in Rwanda with international markets, and invest all their profit back into Rwandan women through programs focused on literacy training, financial management, and entrepreneurship.

The Business of Hope

Janet not only has hope for the future, she has a desire to set her business apart:

“I want to acquire a lot of knowledge about how to run a successful business. I also want to learn how to create new designs for products that are different from the ones we are making now because a lot of people are making similar ones” (quote from Indego Africa).

Janet didn’t dwell on her circumstances—instead she decided to take her future into her own hands.


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Charlotte Van Werven
Charlotte Van Werven


Staff Writer for Jesus' Economy