By Elias Hakizimana.
Etienne Uwimana from Rutsiro district was married with Xaverine Mukamurenzi in 2008 and were sharing a peaceful life during three years after their wedding. What next was a scandal as the man used to beat the wife besides misusing the family’s properties.
Uwimana used to use all his earnings from former jobs to drink beer and even sell the families’ properties to invest in alcoholic clubs. He did not hesitate to take loans as he could spend between Rwf30,000 to Rwf40,000 on beer.
He told The Inspirer that he used to beat his wife when she tried to complain about this kind of property’s mismanagement.
“once upon time, I was a given a part time job by my colleague to repair his house and I put away one of the inside doors from my house and even removed the tiles to use on his house and he gave me Rwf 70,000 in instalments which also I took in clubs to drink beer. When my wife tried to complain, I could beat her,” said Uwimana.
The father of three said that his wife went away to her parents with two children and left one to his father.
“My wife was angry with that and then went back to her parents,” Uwimana said noting that he stayed hungry after using all the money in alcoholism.
Uwimana was given the sum of Rwf 20,000 by another colleague to invest in selling beer. Due to his routine and addiction to alcohol, he fallen in a huge loss and remained empty pocket.
“I tried to commit suicide and I walked near lake Kivu to finish the action but I turned mind and stopped it. Three days later, I found a convocation letter from the sector’s authority as my wife accused me. They found that I spent over Rwf370,000 as the family’s property and they requested me to bring back Rwf125,000 of that amount so that the wife come back,” said Uwimana.
The man successfully re-build a peaceful family with his wife Mukamurenzi and both gained tough lessons by “Gender age and disability based-violence” the project by Handicap International about the new strategies to live in a peaceful family free of domestic violence.
“I joined my wife who entered before in Turwubake group and as I was interested in asking more during our meetings, I was trusted but members and I become their representative,” Uwimana noted.
Besides this trust, Uwimana was elected to lead “inshuti z’umuryango” initiative or Friends of a family, the cell’s council representative in charge of gender based violence prevention and with her wife they helped other families in conflicts to change for better as they did.
“Me and my wife, we have transformed other families in social conflicts, one being the couple whose wife used to beat and flied away her husband. Her husband was living out of his house during the period of four years but we helped them and the priest came at their home to celebrate their religious marriage,” said Uwimana.
For Mukamurenzi, she got surprised to be mistreated by Uwimana three years only after their living together.
“Three years after we were married, he started changing and things became worse, I thank Handicap’s Gender age and disability based violence project that encouraged us to change,” said Mukamurenzi.
Uwimana and Mukamurenzi are now growing pigs, a cow, hens and goats and they are planning to invest in pineapple farming.
According to Charles Karangwa, Gender age and Disability based violence Project manager in Handicap International, the project realized that domestic violence is huge since three years of inception.
He said that their mandate is to work together with partners to end domestic violence.
The project was initiated in 2011 with its first phase in Gasabo, Rutsiro, Rubavu, Kamonyi and Rulindo districts. Its second phase that ends in May, 2018 was targeting Rubavu, Rutsiro and Gasabo districts while the next and last will end in 2020 in Gasabo and Rutsiro.
The project is funded by Suisse Cooperation and Handicap International. Its main principles include prevention activities, care and support to the victims of domestic violence, plus protection against new violence activities.
To date, it (the project) supported the total of 213 groups with 5,350 members, 4,137 women and 1,561 men as well as 299 persons with disability.
Elias Hakizimana @theinspirerpubl
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