Musabyimana gives vulnerable children, elderly ray of hope
Albert Musabyimana, a survivor of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, is the brains behind the Peace and Hope Initiative in Kinyinya, Gasabo District. He founded the Kuraneza Early Childhood Development that currently sponsors 120 vulnerable children to get pre-school education and has helped eight families of elderly women to access clean water.
I recently had an opportunity to visit Kuraneza Early Childhood Development pre-school at Peace and Hope Initiative in Kinyinya, Gasabo District. I found the kids jovially playing in the compound, perhaps, after spending a couple of hours in class.
Thanks to Albert Musabyimana, a survivor of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi who founded the initiative, the centre caters for underprivileged children aged 3 to 6 years.
Musabyimana is helping needy elderly women to access clean tap water. Lydia Atieno
Musabyimana was born in 1978 in Kamonyi District. He was 16 years old during the 1994 Genocide. Sadly, his two younger sisters and he were the only ones who survived the Genocide in the whole family.
Being the eldest among his siblings, he was forced to take the role of parenting.
Musabyimana recalls that life was tough as he had to attend school while at the same time taking care of his siblings. He says they relied on well wishers and that there were days they went without food.
However, in 2005, Lady Luck struck and he was selected among other child-headed families to receive free housing as part of an initiative to support Rwandan youth who were greatly affected by the 1994 Genocide through the Survivors Fund (SURF).
“I was grateful to SURF because it came to my rescue. I was able to own a house, as well as finishing my studies at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, where I graduated with a degree in electronic and communication engineering,” he notes.
The children taking break tea.
Musabyimana says it was the harsh past experience that inspired him to extend his kindness to vulnerable kids, single mothers and elderly people in 2012.
“I felt that I had to do something that could help my people break free from the poverty cycle in which they had been trapped since the 1950s when our parents were not allowed to go to school due to genocide ideology,” he says.
Musabyimana decided to start a Peace and Hope Initiative to better the lives of vulnerable children.
“I started with 48 children picked from child-headed households,” he explains.
In January 2013, Musabyimana opened his arms to more underprivileged children under the ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda programme’ and currently has now 120 children.
“Most of the children are highly vulnerable, parentless or with a single or young mother. I felt it was good to give them the foundation an education to prepare them for face the future,” he says.
Musabyimana adds that as a person who has reaped the benefits of education, he opted to help the less fortunate children through education as it’s the key to everything.
He says when a child attends school, especially the girl child, it reduces her chances of getting unwanted pregnancies and contracting HIV/AIDS.
“Vulnerability always results into unwanted pregnancies due to poverty. If only they got basic necessities like education, such kids would survive this challenge,” he says.
Whereas Peace and Hope Initiative offers pre-school education, Musibyimana continues to support the extremely vulnerable children through primary school. He also tracks children who have graduated from the school to know how they are fairing so he may help in case they are still facing challenges.
A hand to the elderly
Musibyimana’s kindness doesn’t stop at children, but extends to needy elderly women, especially the survivors of the Genocide, whom he helps access clean water with support from Equity Bank.
“We provide clean water to the whole of Kinyinya community, but mostly, within the homes of old women who are unable to go fetch water and those living with HIV/AIDS,” he says.
Peace and Hope Initiative plans to expand its Kuraneza centre to be able to enroll more children who still don’t have that chance to attend pre-school.
“I am planning on providing care for over 400 vulnerable children who are still at home and their parents don’t have plans of enrolling them in school,” says Musabyimana.