Desperate workers seek ways to cope

Thursday August 13 2020

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Unemployment in Rwanda has increased sharply due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo | Cyril Ndegeya  

JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
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With unemployment in the country estimated to have increased sharply due to coronavirus pandemic, many of the people who lost work are desperately forced into forging new careers to make ends meet.

Employees laid off in the private sector, which was hit the hardest by the pandemic, as well as those who are on suspension or had their salaries cut rank among many who are trying so hard to find alternative sources of incomes to make ends meet.

With many having bills to pay, renting and having to regularly put food on the table among other costs, a number have ventured into all sorts of hustles for survival including putting into practice skills they initially not thought of turning into business.

Josephine Nazziwa, a teacher at Riviera High School, a Kigali-based private school says little did she know that Covid-19 would drastically change her life from the routine work of teaching students and getting a salary at the end of the month, which she has been doing for over the past nine years.

“When the lockdown came in mid-March, I thought that it was a temporary thing that was going to last days or weeks only to find ourselves in total unemployment without money on me or even a health insurance. We were concentrating on salary only without any extra income,” she said.

Despite skilled in soap and skin care products making and handcraft designing, she had only trained other people to make the products but never had she thought of making it a business herself.

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“I thought of the soap business after I got notified of salary cut and later put on a temporary unpaid leave. It was the only thing that was relevant to the situation of Covid-19 as it is used in sanitation. I also thought of producing skin care products along with jellies and hair shampoo, but I had limited financial means,” she said.

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