July 14, 2024

Unveiling the spectrum of disability: Children with disabilities are an integral part of our community

3 min read

Nyamata, Bugesera, lies Aveh Umurerwa, a haven for children with disabilities, a place where hope blossoms amidst challenges.

Cecilia Umunyana, Vice President of Aveh Umurerwa says this organization stands as a testament to the transformative power of compassion and care.

Cecilia Umunyana, Vice President of Aveh Umurerwa

Currently, 20 children are cared for every day at Aveh umurerwa, providing them with a safe and nurturing environment, while a further 97 children receive care and support within their families.

Cecilia Umunyana, driven by unwavering dedication to these children, has spearheaded the growth and impact of Aveh Umurerwa.

 “We need to show the world that children with disabilities are just like other children. They have the ability to achieve great things, and we need to provide them with the support they need to reach their full potential,” Umunyana stated.

One parent shared her testimony about her child. She described the initial struggles and setbacks, but also the immense joy and pride in witnessing her child’s progress and achievements.

“I knew that children with disabilities are children like any other and I carried my child to school but it was difficult because he was not concentrating. For the moment, the child is no longer different from others and deserves the same opportunities in life,” she said.

Her message to other parents was one of encouragement and hope, emphasizing the importance of identifying their child’s passions and interests. By nurturing them, she believes parents can empower their children to reach their full potential.

children are cared at Aveh umurerwa

 Muhawenimana olive is a teacher working with these children with disabilities. Olive’s unwavering dedication stems from her belief in the inherent goodness in every child.

“I chose to do this job because I love taking care of people,” explains Olive, “They have pure love; they make me happy.” Her words encapsulate the essence of her work, a labor of love that extends far beyond the confines of a classroom.

Olive’s journey, however, is not without its challenges. Working with children with disabilities requires a unique level of patience, understanding and individualized attention. “I face challenges because these kids are at different levels,” she admits. “It requires more energy; we take care of them one by one.”

Olive’s commitment extends beyond the walls of the classroom, reaching out to parents and communities to raise awareness of disability and the challenges faced by those who live with them. She advocates for inclusive education and promotes understanding and acceptance of diversity.

One of the most pressing issues highlighted by Olive is the vulnerability of children with disabilities to sexual violence. “They are easy targets,” she explains.

People with disabilities are an integral part of our community,” concluded Umunyana. “We must treat them with respect and dignity, and we must work together to ensure they have the same opportunities as everyone else.

AVEH Umurerwa faces challenges including lack of understanding and acceptance of disabilities within society.

“Many people still view disability as a limitation rather than a difference, which leads to discrimination and marginalization. This is why it is sometimes difficult for us to find people from our society to help us solve the problem of lack of (housing) infrastructure, financial instability, means of transporting children to and from the hospital and sexual violence,” said Umunyana.

“To combat this, we are calling on everyone to embark on a campaign to raise awareness about disability and promote inclusion,” Umunyana appealed.

Ingabire Janvière

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