Learning by example
I believe that success stories are an inspiration. This is something that gives me more strength. Like the story of this young lady from Singapore, Lam Shumei. Against all the difficulties and obstacles, Lam Shumei saw an incredible opportunity in Rwanda and today we can say that her performance played an essential role in the development of this African country. We can and should always learn and be inspired by these examples!
This is the story of Lam Shumei, a young woman from Singapore. In 2011, Lam Shumei realized that chicken production in Rwanda was scarce. There was no production experience or investment in this area and because there was no modern production, this meat was inaccessible to Rwandans. On the other hand, the few chicken meat they had was extremely expensive due to the fact it had to be imported, so many people had never even eaten chicken before. Lam Shumei risked and invested in a field 40 minutes from the capital, Kigali. There she set up Rwanda’s first modern chicken farm which is currently the country’s largest chicken producer, supplying 8 tonnes of meat per week.
An inspiring story that makes me wish to share some points that I consider very important:
Women are also leaders
First of all, I am pleased with the fact that a woman is proving to be capable. Against the language barriers and in a world of men, Lam Shumei used all her skills and strength to create something that everyone said she wouldn’t be able to get. She got it. It is further proof that female leadership is a success.
Betting on national production as the country’s development driver
The production and farming of chickens in Rwanda were non-existent. Lam Shumei identified this need and created a production space with the right investment and support. A business opportunity that was not being exploited was recognized and what happened was the creation of a national product. From this farm in Kigali, several jobs were created for the people of the local communities; a distribution line of this product was created for the whole country, thus feeding small businesses; the product was brought to Rwandan families, and many of them who had never eaten chicken in their lives can do so now at a more affordable price; consequently, the import of this product was reduced, since it can now be supplied internally.
In short, an investment that has brought much more return than you ever imagined because, in the end, it generates immeasurable value for the country. I’m speaking of the empowerment of thousands of people, of financial autonomy, of business generation, an endless cycle of opportunities. All this is happening in a space in Kigali, something that in 2011 was only imagined to be a dream.
Lam Shumei was not only able to generate all this value for Rwanda, but she thought to go even further. As part of her company’s Social Responsibility actions, the products – chickens – are donated to local organizations. This support given to local communities, such as orphanages and other institutions, means that many people, among which children, receive food assets, thus helping to fight hunger.
It is, without a doubt, an inspiring story. When I think of these examples going on next door to us in Africa, I know that there is much more we can do for Angola. Agriculture and national production are engines of development and therefore have to be supported and exploited. Public funds and private investment are needed to create and grow the cooperatives of small and medium-sized farmers, so that we can also share our success stories.