ABOUT FIGHT TO LIVE COOPERATIVE
In May 2015, after hearing about a group of women who wanted to meet with us, we pulled up to 48 women sitting on hand-carved wooden stools and soon began to hear the group’s story. The name of their cooperation was Turwane K’ubuzima which translates to “Fight to Live.” All of the women are living with HIV/AIDS, most of them having contracted it during the 1994 Genocide, and they desperately needed help earning a sustainable income. We learned that they started a savings circle, giving them the funds they needed to buy a piece of land – which explained why they had invited us to meet them.
The Fight to Live Cooperative wanted to turn their newly purchased land into a coffee farm, and they asked us for help. When we asked them why coffee, Shantal, a woman in the co-op said, “We want our children to be able to go to school. The income from this land will guarantee that.” Coffee trees will produce income for more than thirty years.
They told us that all the women had signed contracts naming successors to their portions of the trees and income should they succumb to their disease before their children finish school. So no matter what, these coffee trees would fund an education.
We partnered with an incredible company called See Beautiful to invest in the women of Fight to Live. In October 2015, they cleared their land and planted 1,000 coffee trees. Since then, they have started a new savings circle to expand their property and create a bigger farm. Kula is thrilled to be a part of this story and join them in the next phase of their work.
Fight to Live is a cooperative located in Kayonza in the Eastern Province of Rwanda.