Today, there is a different story to tell. A case in point is the group of 25 families of historically marginalized people in Nyamiyaga Cell, Miyove Sector of Gicumbi District requesting their new status to be considered and be referred to as people on the development journey instead of historically marginalized people.
The progress testified to IGIHE journalist as he visited the families is attributed, in no small part, to the support of the Government of Rwanda and partners.
Their mindsets have changed, so is their wellbeing. They no longer depend on begging but have become hard working people with big aspirations for a brighter future.
Like other members of the society, they wake up every morning for different economic activities and apply acquired vocational skills to generate income.
Children attend schools, stunting has reduced, they are no longer associated with poor hygiene and live in houses connected to electricity.
André Masurubu is among historically marginalized people whose living standards have significantly improved.
He currently serves as the head of village sub-unit (Isibo) in Nyamiyaga Village.
Masurubu says that their lives have been transformed that they should no longer be labelled as historically marginalized but rather be called people on the journey to development.
“We used to live in very small houses in poor conditions. Our legs would not fit in the house as we slept overnight putting us at risk of being devoured by stray animals. We have received decent shelters, we sleep in safe and comfortable places, we have access to electricity and our children can revise studies overnight,” he said.
Masurubu said that the transformations were mainly driven by change of mindsets, because they used to receive similar support and destroy houses to sell some materials or use doors as firewood.
The changes resulted from relentless joint efforts by the government and partners who stayed closer to historically marginalized people day to day.
NPO Think About Education in Rwanda (NPO TER), a non-profit organization from Japan which mainly provides educational opportunities is among partners who played a significant role to change the lives of historically marginalized people in Miyove.
Elisabeth Twizeyimana, a mentor from NPO TER says that the 25 families under their supervision no longer have issues related to poor hygiene and malnutrition.
“It was a tiresome journey that required much effort to change their mindsets, and convince them to practice agriculture. Today, they have received land to cultivate and exploit them conveniently where they harvest and store seeds for the next agriculture season,” she noted.
According to Twizeyimana, historically marginalized people have been enlightened on the benefits of working together in groups, where they have helped them to buy small livestock that also serve as a source of compost to fertilize their gardens.
The transformations are also highlighted by Marie Louise Towari, the founder and president of NPO TER.
Towari explained that she first arrived at the village of historically marginalized people six years ago where he was moved by a child she saw begging.
This inspired her to mobilize partners to give special attention to this segment of the population.
Towari linked up with Rotary Club and worked together to usher the historically marginalized people into prosperity.
“I liaised with Rotary Club to take care of them together. We mobilized funds which we used to support historically marginalized people in Miyove. We have stayed closer to them within six years and the transformations are self-evident. As you can see, they are clean in smart dresses and no longer have the habit of begging,” she said.
Amb. Zephyr Mutanguha who represented Rotary Club Kigali Virunga said that beneficiaries received arable fields and enlightened them on the relevance of being actively involved in their development journey to become self-reliant and stop begging.
“Rotary Club conducts mobilization all over the world and provides support to vulnerable families. We are here to inspect water tanks given to them recently and inaugurate electricity infrastructures they had requested. This has a great influence on their mindsets as they rest assured that development is not a miracle to their families,” he affirmed.
Gicumbi Vice Mayor for Economic Affairs, Parfaite Uwera thanked partners for taking care of historically marginalized people in Miyove Sector noting that the remaining work is to consolidate gains and continue mobilizations to change their mindsets.
“We will stay closer to them because it is our daily responsibility to ensure they lead a decent life like other segments of the population,” she said.
The historically marginalized people in Miyove have been equipped with different vocational skills including sewing and making soaps. This helps them to wear smart clothes and maintain hygiene at home, among other things.