Foster mother Nzabamwita encourages parents to take children from orphanages

By Tombola Felicie & Jean d'Amour Mugabo
On 22 September 2017 at 03:39

Had a good number of parents acted like Veredian Nzabamwita who has fostered five children, all 3,323 children and young adults would have been reintegrated into families from orphanages since March 2012 when the cabinet approved the National Strategy for Child Care Reform which seeks to transform Rwanda’s current child care and protection system into a family-based care and family-strengthening system.

However, statistics show that slightly over 1,000 children are still living in 11 orphanages in the country yet the deadline for phasing down all 33 orphanages elapsed in 2015.

Nzabamwita, 58, a resident of Bugesera District, Nyamata Sector, Nyamata Cell, has her own five children and fostered more five to help them enjoy the family care and hope for a brighter future. She has taken the fifth child recently from an orphanage in line with the government’s program of ‘Tubarerere mu Muryango’ (Let’s raise them in a family) in addition to other four she had so far taken from orphanages in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Speaking to IGIHE, Nzabamwita said no child should lack parental care when there are many parents in the country who should play on behalf of the deceased parents.

“Genocide claimed lives of my loved ones; husband and my first born, but after Genocide I raised my remaining children together with other four orphans. Life was hard to the extent we were sometimes taking porridge as our supper but I was happy to share the little I was earning with all the children and they were happy in the family too,” she said.

She often visited orphanages and learnt about the inconvenience of living there and that gave her courage to strive to have many fostered into families.

“In orphanages, I was meeting children I knew their origin and some were from my extended family. I started helping many to meet their families. Orphanages just provide food and clothing but no good education. Most of the children there were spoilt and misbehaved because of lacking parental care and education,” she said.

Nzabamwita urges every parent to have a tender heart and foster at least one child from orphanages.

Tubarerere mu Muryango as “God’s programme”

Some of the children Nzabamwita fostered have found their families but she went back to an orphanage to pick another child whom she is fostering today and the child is now happy in the family, often asking the foster mother for a favour of not returning them to the orphanage.

“This is God’s programme because officials who thought about reintegrating children into families were undoubtedly guided by God. Children in orphanages are deprived of good morals but reintegrating them into families is the good way to build a better country’s future,” she noted.

Nzabamwita wishes she was able to reach every family to persuade them to receive orphans to help all young ones acquire good education from parental care in order to nurture them into good citizens of Rwanda.

“When a child receives care develops love for the country and citizens because they understand that there people who helped them when they were in need. Fostering a child does not require good means but a loving heart willing to share the little with the neediest,” she said.

She said there are no worries that a child from orphanage can spoil other children of the fostering family because a fostered child follows the family’s model when they are given care. She added that it is of great honour to raise an orphan because it is part of building the country and serving God’s mission.

Life of Nzabamwita’s fostered child

Four-year old, Christian Manzi has apparently found happiness in foster family. He demonstrates what he acquires at a nursery school by singing Rwanda’s national anthem ‘Rwanda Nziza’.

When chatting with his foster mother, Nzabamwita, who he calls mummy, Manzi displays immense happiness of child having a parent and always ask her where she had been all the time before.

Reintegrating all children into families is still going on and those interested in fostering some usually visit the orphanages to learn about the procedures.

Article 18 of the Constitution of Rwanda amended in 2015 stipulates that both parents have the right and responsibility to raise their children while the State puts in place appropriate legislation and organs for the protection of the family, particularly the child and mother, to ensure that the family flourishes. Article 19 indicates that a child has the right to specific mechanisms of protection by his or her family, other Rwandans and the State.

Nzabamwita with fostered child
Foster mother Nzabamwita with her class