Celebrating Women: Nduwayo and Mugabo’s story
Around the world, March 8 is recognized as International Women’s Day. This week we celebrate the women whose acts of courage and determination have kept their families together, and their children free to grow up in the love and safety of a family; not in an orphanage.
Mugabo is 16 months old and he is sitting on his mother, Nduwayo’s knee, drinking soya milk from a beaker. He is small for his age but he is playful and full of energy.
Not long ago though, Mugabo was suffering from malnutrition and Nduwayo feared for his life. Mugabo was assessed by the Nutrition Group at the Community Hub in Kigali, Rwanda, established by Hope and Homes for Children. The Hub is part of a network designed to support families, many headed by single mothers, and prevent children being placed in orphanages.
At the Nutrition Group, Nduwayo learned how to make curd from soya beans that can be used as a meat substitute. It’s cheap and easy to produce and can keeps for three days without refrigeration. This has helped to increase the amount of protein in Mugabo’s diet and the milk that the process produces is a good source of calcium.
Our prevention work: community hubs
The work to support families and to prevent children being abandoned to orphanages, is absolutely fundamental to the work of Hope and Homes for Children. Our model for deinstitutionalisation is not solely about moving children out of institutions; it also involves supporting families so they can stay together and creating the services that ensure children do not need to enter institutions. A Community Hub is one of the services we create to support families and communities.
A Community Hub is a child friendly community resource centre that serves children, parents and communities through a range of diverse services developed by the communities. Community Hubs are attractive and safe places for children, young people and adults to come together to access vital services designed to prevent the breakdown of families, such as day care programmes for children, training and counselling for parents, life skills and parental skills, economic development mentoring and support. The exact nature of services run from a Community Hub is determined by a community assessment.
“The group saved my son’s life”
Mugabo is gaining weight and Nduwayo has a new skill she can share.
“This group saved my sons life” she says. “And the training I have received means that I can now teach others.”