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Broke to Date: A series on the realities of love, money and society in Rwanda

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In the picturesque hills of Rwanda, the societal norm is for young men to go to school, secure a job, and then start a family. However, this seemingly straightforward path to happiness is often riddled with unseen obstacles.

With the country’s economic realities, the road to love is increasingly challenging as young Rwandans face employment issues, financial illiteracy, societal pressure, and mental health concerns. This article delves into the humorous yet painfully relatable struggles of young Rwandan men as they navigate the treacherous waters of dating and relationships.

Here are some true stories from our KURA Keepers. We have changed their names to protect their identity.

Employment Woes

empty money in wallet, concept money deficit, money is not enoug

One of our KURA Keepers Iradukunda, a recent graduate from the University of Rwanda, is excited to embark on a new chapter of life. He soon discovers that the job market in Kigali is not as welcoming as he had hoped.

After months of job hunting, he finally secures a position at a local call center, but the salary is barely enough to cover his basic needs, let alone support a family.

As he walks past a fancy coffee shop in Kigali, Iradukunda sees his high school crush, Uwineza, sipping a latte. He musters the courage to approach her, but as they catch up, he realizes that treating her to a cup of coffee is a luxury he can’t afford.

Ineza, a young professional, knows all too well that money doesn’t grow on trees. Despite having a stable job, he’s barely making ends meet due to the high cost of living in Rwanda.

To keep up appearances, he spends his salary on the latest gadgets and designer clothes but has little knowledge of personal finance or investing.

After a few months of dating, Ineza decides to introduce his girlfriend, Usanase, to his family. When his mother asks about their plans for the future, the young man awkwardly admits he hasn’t saved a single coin towards their future.
Usanase, an accountant by profession, takes it upon herself to teach him the importance of financial literacy and planning. I know we have a lot like Irankunda out there. How best can we help them?

Struggling with money is one thing, but facing societal pressure to conform to traditional expectations is another.

Ndayisenga, a 28-year-old teacher, is constantly reminded by his family and friends that it’s time to settle down. During a family gathering in the village, his uncle jokingly tells him that if he doesn’t find a wife soon, he’ll be left with only the village goats for company. One of his aunties told him the way he is continuing being single, he will be buried with a rat.

Feeling the pressure, Ndayisenga starts dating a woman named Umurerwa, even though he knows he’s not financially prepared for a serious relationship. This leads to a series of hilarious, yet relatable misadventures as the man tries to juggle societal expectations and his financial reality.

Mental health matters

overhead shot of a male holding his empty wallet with a blurred background

Amidst the chaos of money, love, and societal pressure, the mental health of young Rwandan youth often takes a backseat. Take the case of 24-year-old Mugabo, who is grappling with anxiety and depression due to the stress of finding a job and maintaining a relationship. His friends often tease him for being “too sensitive,” not realizing that mental health is a serious issue that should not be ignored.

One day, he confides in his girlfriend, Isimbi, about his struggles. Surprisingly, she understands and encourages him to seek professional help. Together, they attend a mental health workshop in Kigali, where Peter finally learns the importance of self-care and seeking support.

The journey to love and happiness is not a straightforward path, especially in the context of Rwanda’s economic and societal realities. As young men like Iradukunda, Ineza, Ndayisenga, and many more navigate these challenges, they learn valuable lessons on financial literacy and management which is what these series will be about.

If you think that this is all, we have stories from the females too. Catch us on the next episode.

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