By Elias Hakizimana.
When Esperance Nyirakamana was in love with her partner, she had hope that they will be legally and religiously married, and enjoy a successful, happy marriage and family. But chances did not go her way as the man with whom he had fell in love was already a husband of another wife whom they were already legally married.
What is worse is that Nyirakamana was impregnated by this man who refused to take care of the child born from their union. Today, the now 7-year-old child is in primary One in Remera, Gasabo District and his mother is struggling to cater for him as she earns a small wage as a housemaid. She gets difficultues buying Health Insurance and school materials for her son.
“He promised me to live together, we requested official documents for legal marriage together but at the end he refused after impregnating me, he told me he will support me and later refused, he only paid me the health insurance to help me when I gave birth, he also refused to register the child in civil status registry. I respected my duties as a parent and register him on my name, he cannot pay school fees, I am the only one to buy Mituelle de Santé (community-based health insurance), school fees and school materials for my child,” Nyirakamana said.
This mother is fortunately allowed to pursue vocational training skills and is assisted by her employer where she works as a housemaid.
She says she is currently not aware of laws that can protect her or help her to regain her rights, noting that it is the same for many of her colleagues. “I wish that this husband can help me cater for the child,” she noted.
As luck would have it Nyirakamana participated in the two-days CSOs Exhibition by Rwanda Non-Government Organizations working in the Justice Sector that kicked off yesterday at Petit Stade Parking Area- AMAHORO STADIUM-Remera. She was expecting to find the help of someone who can assist her to seek legal assistance.
This scenario shows that Nyirakamana has lacked shared responsibilities with her husband to cater for their child, an issue that is hampering the success of gender equality.
Experts say that It is really strange how some parents avoid the responsibilities to be present in the lives of their children. Children need role models and mentors to be inspired and get a clear picture before starting families.
Status of gender inclusion in Rwanda
As Rwanda aims to become a high-income country with high standards of living for its citizens by 2050, a laudable progress for improving the wellbeing of both men and women/boys and girls has been noticeable. This part presents the status of key achievements made in gender inclusion and social transformation sectors including education, health, social protection, energy as well as water and sanitation.
The strong engagement of men in gender equality dialogues and participation in activities traditionally seen as women’s issues like family planning, child care etc., could play an important role in accelerating implementation of gender equality in Rwanda.
Teenage pregnancy and motherhood has been on the increase in the last 10 years and is undermining national development efforts. This is attributed to defilement, domestic violence, poverty and low knowledge of reproductive health.
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