Initially, the goal of Maison Shalom was to protect child victims of war. After 17 years of working in the community to provide assistance to orphans, street children, young children and babies in prison (infants with their mothers) and the children of poverty-stricken parents, Maison Shalom has observed that there are still poor people in need of help. Much of the population lives in extreme poverty. Eradicating that poverty is the only lasting solution to the problem. To do this, people must be able to start small productive agricultural or pastoral projects, run small businesses, set up workshops – they do not need aid distributions. No matter how modest, however, such initiatives need seed capital. Because the people concerned are too poor to put up the collateral for a bank loan, they are cut off from financing. In Ruyigi, there is no microfinance company. The idea and mission driving this new initiative, ITEKA Microfinance, is to help eliminate extreme poverty by developing saving and microcredit services for people with very low incomes. Those people can then produce, have purchasing power to meet their needs, and save. The idea is to provide the impetus for the socio-economic development of the poorest sector of the population. Maison Shalom launched this new initiative at a conference attended by the governor of Ruyigi province, a parliamentarian representing Ruyigi province and other dignitaries on 27 May 2011.