Bugesera: Parents with disabled children need special support in healthcare, inclusive education

By Elias Hakizimana.

Eugenie Mukamfura, the mother of two from Cyugaro village, Kayenzi Cell, Ntarama Sector in Bugesera District is always wondering how her six year- old son will benefit to inclusive education since the child has disability.

The child cannot sit and he cannot do anything due to physical disability. He was born with this condition and until today his parents cannot afford the treatment so that the child be able to move to school.

Mukamfura who recently benefited from a new initiative dubbed ‘Ntusigare’-Community Based Inclusive Development’(CBID) by CECHE Foundation Rwanda says that even though the organization helped her to move the child from stigma; there is still a worry on his treatment so that he access education as other children with disabilities.

CECHE-Foundation Rwanda that stands for Children in Education Cultural and Health Environment helps parents with children with disabilities and other children from needy families who are below 3 years old to access early childhood Interventions (ECI) such as physiotherapy and moral gaming as well as good nutrition.

At least 22 children with disabilities are benefiting from this initiative but some of them need extra support for healthcare to be able to join schools like others.

“I need further advocacy because my son cannot do anything, he cannot move due to the disability. I was behind others with stigma but CECHE helps our children with free physiotherapy but they also need healthcare treatment. It can be an added value as we find further support from the government and anyone because we cannot afford the treatment,” Mukamfura said.

This mother has so far spent Rwf 500,000 in various clinics to try see if her son can improve on his disability condition. “I failed later as the cost is very high and I cannot afford to pay the receipts,” she noted.

The organization also gathered the mothers of these children into a cooperative ‘Duserukire abana’ (Let’s stand up for children) where they learn and practice tailoring and weaving. They started with Rwf3,1million from CECHE and bought 6 weaving machines, 6 tailoring machines.

Besides this support, they need extra support to access to descent treatment for their children.

Epiphanie Dukunde has also a child with leg disability who is 13-year-old. Her worry is that the child is not studying because of lack of financial capacity.

“CECHE made comfortable chairs for our disabled children but we also need further support to take them to school and their special needs are expensive to afford,” she said.

Incepted in 2013, the organization is sponsored by the United Nations development programme (UNDP) and Rwanda Governance Board (RGB).

Speaking during CECHE official inauguration in Ntarama sector, Bugesera District on February 8th, 2019, Justus Kangwagye, the Head of Political Parties and Civil Society Organizations RGB commended the efforts of this organization and called other Non-Governmental Organizations to help the government tackle challenges facing the community.

Joseph Munyandamutsa, founder of CECHE Foundation said that they will try to expand advocacy so that they help children with disabilities access to healthcare and inclusive education.

“In our one-year programme, we will make advocacy and help schools set basic infrastructures for children with disabilities,” Munyandamutsa said.

CECHE Foundation also helps improve nutrition of children by cooking and feeding them to tackle stunting issue there in Bugesera district.

The district is among the areas of highest stunting rate with 37 percent.

Findings from the Integrated Household and Living Conditions Survey (EICV4-2015) in September 2015 indicated that 38% of Rwandan children below five years were stunted. The government has set a target to cut down stunting rate from the current 38% to 15% by 2024.

Bugesera district has 15 sectors with a total of 5,699 people with disabilities, while 400,000 people countrywide are disabled.

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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