More Rwandans continue to apply for US green cards every year, as they seek greener pastures in the super power.
As the economy continues to contract, with the cost of living skyrocketing, many Rwandans are hoping for better life abroad.
The increase in number of applicants for the US green card lottery-also called Diversity Immigrant Visa, has also meant cashing in for bureaus that offer application services.
At Ladix studio in Kimironko, the workers are always busy as people swarm the place to apply for the green card lottery, October and November being the months for application.
Besides taking passport photos with the right measurements required in the green card application process, they also apply for an individual at a cost of Rwf5000, and a family at Rwf10,000 or Rwf15000 with a child.
Tuyizere Jerome, the business owner used to only offer photography services, taking passport and family photos for people, but he saw the demand for recommended photos for green card shoot up.
He also realised that many people, especially the digitally illiterate, sought help as they struggled to navigate the application sites, so he opened the service in addition to photography.
He said last year alone they applied for an estimated 150 people or more, and among them41 people won the US green card.
“The number of green card applicants keeps growing by the day, we test the passport photos on a certain site to increase chances of our customers winning and I think it has worked because many have ended up winning” he said.
He said many green card application customers they get are from recommendations of those they helped.
Many of those that have won green cards and relocated to the US in the past years, have ended up getting better paying jobs and started income generating ventures in Rwanda like constructing real estate properties and other businesses.
Others have turned the fortunes of their families around through paying school fees for family members, as well as economically empowering others in a number of ways.
Preferring anonymity, a green card lottery winner who has now got a US permanent residency told Rwanda Today that getting a green card to live and work in the USA is perhaps the best thing that has happened to him and his family.
“I come from a very poor family and there was no hope to be honest because we all dropped out of school, but the US green card that I got 10 years ago changed everything”
He said having got it when he was still young, he got an opportunity to study as he worked, and upon completion, he landed a nice job.
“I have been investing back home, I have also economically empowered my parents, siblings and a few friends, I can say I am a happy man."