Angelique Imanishimwe, 19, is one of 100 young women from Nyamagabe district whose future was obscure and full of uncertainties three years ago. She says, when she met CARE International her life changed and it will never be the same.
Imanishimwe, a beneficiary of CARE International programmes that help the youth escape poverty through increased access to information, resources and support.
“I have been a beneficiary of CARE International programmes for over three years and I have learnt skills in entrepreneurship without which my family and I would never have realized our dream of living a better livelihood,” says Imanishimwe.
Most of the beneficiaries, Imanishimwe says, are young women who had dropped out schools at a tender age for various reasons some of whom are child mothers.
The programmes of this charity organization have rolled out in 27 districts in all Provinces, says Sydney Uwimuhe, the Women’s Programmes Coordinator at CARE International Rwanda.
Uwimuhe says they had started with only two impact programmes that are ongoing – the vulnerable poor women in society and that of the orphaned children.
Meanwhile, one of the activities CARE International Africa chose to mark this year’s International Women’s Day was a global fundraising drive, dubbed, Walk In Her Shoes. According to the NGO the name chosen for the fundraising means:
“By walking 10,000 steps a day and raising £100 for CARE International, you’ll be helping us to provide clean and safe water sources. This means that women and girls don’t have to walk for water. Instead, they have the time they need for work or school – giving them the chance for a better future,”
This is the first time the fundraising drive of this kind takes place in Africa.
Reaching the target will lead to change of many lives of girls and women currently living in abject poverty.
Over 500 participants who include partners and well-wishers braved the scorching sun last Friday walking on the streets of Kigali city. That, the act was to express their solidarity with the young girls and women who walk more than five miles searching for water, food, firewood, medicine and education.
Participants walked over 10,000 steps (five miles) as a symbol of unity. They contributed in cash and pledges towards the CARE International Rwanda programmes.
The pro-poor programmes empower girls and women through increased access to education, health services, information and access to diverse economic opportunities.
The walking, however, was free drama to onlookers who were treated to exciting though heartrending scenes of men and women acting real life stories – simulating the practical day of the poor African women.
They walked carrying jerry-cans, basins and buckets et cetera to demonstrate some of the hurdles women face that act as barriers from access to education and careers.
Why it became a memorable day?
CARE International Rwanda crowned the day by giving health insurance [mutuelle de santé] to 1,500 vulnerable people from 200 families. Other basic items included a variety of sanitary tools to help the women live in hygienic environments.
“The beneficiaries were selected by the districts; mostly members in category one of Ubudehe [the most vulnerable members of society] who had received a series of trainings in skills and values that define a dignified human being,” Uwimuhe says.
She further noted that the NGO helps women build their capacity in order to be self-reliant to improve their livelihoods.
CARE International partners with HeForShe, a programme run by Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion.
HeForShe representatives called on men to consider women as equal and be supportive in diverse women’s undertakings.
Uwimuhe said that through the HeForShe campaign the government seeks to articulate three major programmes which include ICT literacy, and technical and vocational education. Women are encouraged to diversify their training from hair dressing and hospitality to include engineering, construction and mining.
She called on Rwandans to fight all kinds gender violence in society.
CARE International is a global confederation of 14 member organisations working together to end poverty. In 2016, CARE International had presence in 94 countries world-wide. It is implementing 962 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects to reach more than 80 million people directly and 256 million people indirectly.
CARE International Rwanda directs resources towards the empowerment of girls and women.