Town with children who lost smiles. Need basic life for the poorest area in Rwanda.

 

It takes about three hours. Climbing up the mountains.

 

There is one of the poorest area called Miyove. Its altitude is about 2,000 meters high and there is a small hill on which one village exists. That village seemed to be relegated on that hill.

 

I could not find the way of life there.

 

More than anything, I wanted to change the situation of those children who seemed to forget their smiles. 

 

 

 

Poverty behind the beautiful scenery

 

Two years have been passed since I moved on to Rwanda together with two boys their age of 5 and 2. I still keep on helping reading sometimes at the library at Umuco Mwiza which was established together with supporters last year, started to stay at the local office in Kimironko, for NPO Think about Education in Rwanda based in Japan, as an assistant.

 

 

NPO-TER has started emergency phase in July 2017. I visited Miyove village in Gicumbi city, in October 2017 for the first time, where is located about 80km apart from the capital city, Kigali. We were aware that there is severe poverty, unpleasant reality behind the beautiful scenery.
 

When I have visited there for the first time, I saw the very poor village which I have never seen before or maybe I was not trying to see either. 

 

 

It was the place where there is rarely seen cars and bikes owned privately. The government gradually expanding main road, though there is no industries there. Those villagers were sent on that plot by the government and they have not used to do agriculture because they use to do hunting in the forest. Even if they take one day job helping the farmer earns only less than 2$. 

 

They have only one or two clothes. They are freezing because of its altitude is 2000 meters high. It is hard to get water regularly because of topography reason. Getting rainwater makes worse their medical situation worse and insanitary. 

 

Most of 25 houses in this village can only afford one meal per day. Every one of people have sever faces and babies are crying because of hunger. When I saw a mother is breast feeding with her poor breast even though breast milk is not enough by lacking of nutrition, I remind my tough time breast feeding to my first son. I imagined how it’s hurting to mothers that they cannot feed them enough.

 


This daily situation like this is not only giving them bad effects but also there is no bright future.

 

 

As we get off the car, children are coming toward us and gave their hands to us. At the first visit, to tell the truth I even hesitated to shake hands with them and hugs, as they were so “dirty.” Many of them seem to suffer from malnutrition. Some of them had giggers in their nails.

 

Houses they live are made of wooden frames with mud walls. People were grabbing those wooden frames for making fire sometimes. The floor is the ground itself.

 

 

 

During the rainy season, children were freezing. Almost all the kids had running nose, wearing dirty unwashed t-shirts with dripping nose.

 

 

In 2015, Early Childhood Development and Family center was built on this hill by the government policy. The goal of the program is to ensure that children are intellectually stimulated, healthy and safe, while their families and communities are trained to become nurturing caregivers. 

 

 

Activity in Miyove

 

They were once shrunk from letting children from other village to stay together in the classroom because of their smell or insanitary skins. 

 

They could not afford to wash their bodies as to buy water costs a lot for them. Now they are trying to keep sanitation washing kids and clothes at the ECD&F center and after instruction from Marie Louise.

 

 

After we washed children, distributed used clothes, and sent mentor for teachers in the classroom to develop classroom circumstances, people’s mindset slightly changed.

 

 

Then, on 13th October we all gathered and had opportunity to confirm our vision and their will.

 

Our organization does not support one-sidely we conveyed that we are going to stand close and they also showed their willing to stand by themselves. After listening from one of our members now working in Congo DRC originally from this ethnic group. Villagers seemed to be willing to develop themselves. 

 

 

Change appeared in children

 

At first children seemed to be nerves, especially children under three were crying to see us coming close.

 

However Izuba Teruko Saito who had been teaching music at Umuco Mwiza school at kimironko for five years never give up playing with them singing and dancing together with children. I also tried to sit in the middle of kids to sing together with them matching their sights. They started dancing with rhythm asked me to repeat again and again. I was spending calmful and peaceful time with them and made me settle my feeling from the first visit. 

 

Through Terukosan’s music lesson, distance between children and us was coming closer.

 

 

 

▼Lack spirit Davide, 3 years old▼

 

Davide is a little 3 years old boy now started smiling only sometimes and come to sit on my knees. I saw him hopping after bathing with washed clothes. That change made us happy. 

 

 

 

Through activities at Miyove, children started smiling slow by slow. 

 

As a next step, what this village needs is to get opportunities to get income, to rotate that income for sending children to the school, and opportunities of education. We want them to experience success to have initiatives. 

 

 

Now we see children started smiling, we planed three approaches for the next step!

 

We would like to achieve this project of providing porridge and lunches, opportunities of reading, and skill training. 

 

 

①Providing porridge and lunches:
We will provide porridge for supplying nutrition and lunches at ECD&F center in Miyove for one year. 

 

From April 2018 to March 2019, one porridge and lunch per day (Beans, potatoes, meiz, bugali and so forth) to 119 students. (Baby class 34, Middle class 44, Top class 41)


We have started providing these since July 2017 as an emergency phase, however situation needs further support continuously because of their income is not yet improving. 

 

 

 

②Education:Picture books for children in the classroom and shelves 

 

We’ll present picture books written in Kinyarwanda and English and 1 bookshelf to each 3 classrooms, "baby class", "middle class" and "top class".

 

 

When I tried the previous project to send picture books to children, I found hope in their eyes who visit to the library. Additionally to the food support, I really wish to provide the trigger for these children to find joy by encountering unknown world through picture books.

 

Donated picture books at the library of UmucoMwiza school. 
         Children were crazy about the world of reading.

 

I want to give this experience to children in Miyove as gifts.

 

 

③Self-reliance:Skill training

 

There is a cooperative group consisted by ladies. They are getting income by selling products after learning skills of embroidering. We are going to invite some teachers from that group and train ladies in Miyove who can commit all training. 

 

By giving them opportunities, they might have chance to get income in the future. We want them to experience to be confident by finding that making efforts will develop to stand by themselves.

 

 

 

Want to send your support to children who only know “tomorrow in Miyove”

 

The chief director of NPO Think about Education in Rwanda says “To believe children’s’ potential” is my sours of energy. Her life was a chain of difficulties, however she never stops walking with that belief. Through Marie Louise I have met people and children in Miyove, I would like to stand close people in Miyove and the future they believe together with Izuba Teruko Saito who is acting based on her vision to spread her belief “Live together beyond differences”.

 

Now I knew Marie Louise is aiming peaceful future through the point of education asking herself “How you are going to live your life after the tremendous experience?”, I started thinking what I can do. Then I found there are a lot that I can involve.

 

Once I was tormented by feelings that I cannot do anything in the developing country because I have never studied Development Assistance and I am just a house wife, though as I spend time with people and children in Miyove I started to think that I can introduce this situation which I am seeing or feeling to other people in the world who may not be able to know even if they want to know. Then maybe there is an important meaning that I am here in Rwanda.

 

Together with Marie Louise who established NPO Think about Education in Rwanda.

 

Everyone wishes to be happy. The shape of happiness is different depends on person. However, in this Miyove village they are living the dairy life such as they even don’t think of what is the happiness because they are starving to find something to eat for the next day.  

 

If I can send your heart to Miyove from far away through this project, these people who haven’t seen any other than Miyove might see new world.

Let me achieve this project of supporting food and education for children and opportunities for adults together with you. 

 

 

NPO法人 ルワンダの教育を考える会HP

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How to spend this fund

 

Porridge and lunch for one year: 432,000JPY
Picture books: 200,000JPY
Shelves for picture books: 19,500JPY
Training Skills fee: 100,000JPY
Taxes and expenses: 248,500JPY
 

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