A couple of years ago, Marius Ishimwe 22, the fifth child from a family of 9 siblings in Gasabo district, Gasogi village dropped out of school while in Senior 1 because parents had no more resources to raise school fees.
His story may be an indication that pushing on can, in several instances yield surprising results.
“I used to work as a construction laborer which was physically demanding, and less paying. Early this year I tried to find a stable and well-paying job and this led me to Kigali Special Economic Zone. This didn’t work either. In April I resolved to quit my home for any kind of survivor in Nyarugenge, the central business district,” Ishimwe said.
At that time, Ishimwe had a provision of Rwf 40,000 to start business, pay the rent and put food on the table.
He paid a rent for two months and was left with nothing, except an idea.
“I worked with wholesalers who used to give me onions on debt. After selling them I would return their money and remain with a little profit which would help me cover basic needs including a little food,” Ishimwe said.
“It was hard to an extent that sometimes I would sleep empty stomach.”
In the meantime, he learnt about Inzozi Lotto whose jackpot lotto has now been increased to Rwf 10 million.
He bet his Rwf 500 which is required to obtain one ticket and he didn’t win.
He chilled for the whole week, and the following week he made a second attempt to no avail, same thing in the third week.
Last week, as he wanted to give up and return to his home town because he was stuck, he borrowed Rwf 500 from his younger brother to be able to put food on the table.
“He sent me the money but it was late and I couldn’t buy anything. I decided to shoot my last bullet and bought jackpot lotto and guess what! I won,” he said with excitment.
Ishimwe couldn’t believe his ears when the following morning, an official from Inzozi lotto called him announcing him as winner of Rwf 500,000 Jackpot Lotto.
His money was transferred to his bank account.
“I first thought that it was a scam, but the message was genuine. This money is going to change my life; I will become a wholesaler who supplies to the same retailers I was working with, and beyond. I will earn some Rwf30,000 a day instead of the Rwf 1000,” Ishimwe said adding that it takes Rwf 200,000 to ship a truck of onions for supply to retailers.
Ishimwe has a word to tell the youth.
“I saw a miracle. To the young generation, don’t give up because your life is your capital. You don’t need to be drug abusers or thieves to survive. Instead, keep on trying so hard and one day doors will be opened for you,” he said.
Ishimwe swore that he will never miss a single week without playing.
“If I managed when I was starving, how much more this time when I am fine,” he said.
According to Thierry Nshuti, Deputy Managing Director of Inzozi Lotto, so far an estimate 30,000 people won a total Rwf 120 million.
The biggest prize ever given was Rwf 2 million while other winners took home Rwf 1 million or Rwf 500,000, case of Ishimwe, among others.
The objective of Inzozi lotto jackpot is to contribute to sports development in Rwanda which means that playing means contributing to development and enthusiasm of sports in Rwanda.