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HVP Gikondo: A call for the joint effort to care for children with mental disabilities

HVP Gikondo: A call for the joint effort to care for children with mental disabilities

HVP Gatagara Gikondo branch together with other organizations working on children with mental disabilities care call for the more joint effort to finding sustainable solutions to the challenges and problems they still meet.

HVP Gatagara Gikondo Branch situated in Gikondo Sector in Kicukiro District was established in 2009 to promote the orthopedic care of Persons with Disabilities to ensure quality and accessibility to all while at the same time provide an excellent education for Children with Disabilities thus allowing them to achieve a good quality of life and enhance the process of reintegration.

This time, the center wants to go beyond school and meet children with mental disabilities at their families to be able to find sustainable solutions to their problems and lack of rights.

Jean Pierre Nteziryayo, The Director of HVP Gikondo told the Child Focus that Children with disabilities meet a set of problems and their rights are not protected since their birth. Most of them are only raised by their mothers, as their fathers quit families and they lose their right to being raised by their parents at an early age.

“For example, many meetings we had at school, were attended merely by female parents, and male attendance was under 10%,” he said.

Besides, many children with disabilities are malnourished because their families are separated and their mothers are unable to provide good food and minimum equipment needed to grow healthy, he said.

“Most of these children are not loved in their families, they don’t celebrate their birthday as other children and they are not able to complain, they are not allowed to go to church or in any other public gathering. When visitors are there, these children are hidden in rooms,” he narrates.

In February 2020, HVP Gatagara Gikondo Branch started to implement a project funded by the European Union and CBM- an international Christian development organization committed to improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world.

“It is a project conceived after seeing a set of problems and challenges encountered by children with disabilities. As a center looking after these children, we saw that school was not enough and we decided to reach out to their homes and parents. It will help us to reach out to these children and their families to bring out sustainable solutions from their roots,” he explained.

Elissam Salim Ntibanyendera the president of Collectif Tubakunde, un umbrella of NGOs working on the rights of children with mental disabilities said most of these children don’t have families and they grow up into centers.

“For instance, there are no vocational training centers that can receive children with disabilities in advanced age. They live in centers but when they grow, where do they go? There is no plan to help them take their lives in their hands. it requires a mutual effort to find durable solutions to challenges that children with disabilities still meet in all levels and domains,” he said.

Rebecca Karungi, in charge of Social affairs in Kicukiro District, said all the challenges and problems elaborated are real.

“Most of them were pulled out of streets and their identities are not known. It is hard to find adoptive families because they are already adults, more than 25 years old. However, as leaders and partners, we work together to build at least shelters to some of them and we agreed to focus on these young people with disabilities raised in the centers,” she said.

“It is a long process but we celebrate where we are today hoping the future will be better for these children. Through campaigns, some parents change their mindset and put their children with disabilities out and they are given their rights,” she added.

According to NCPD, Rwanda counts around 400 thousands of people with disabilities. However, many of them are unemployed others are still on the streets begging, as a result of the lack of access to their basic rights.

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