Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of Savera, this year’s winner!
For years, Savera Mutemariya and her husband struggled to support their family. Like many people in the community of Kigabiro, Rwanda, they supported their family mostly through what they grew in their fields, making it difficult to consistently provide for their family’s needs.
“My life was very bad,” Savera remembers. “Getting food was very hard. I didn’t have a house. I had three kids, but I wasn’t able to pay for primary school fees.”
When Savera heard about Urwego Bank, HOPE’s microfinance bank in Rwanda, it sounded too good to be true. Surprised to hear that Urwego would work with women—something that many banks refused to do—Savera eagerly signed up. With her first loans, Savera began selling peanuts at market. “I started to realize I was capable,” she says. “I used to believe I couldn’t do much, but I came to realize I was quite capable.”