For a country to move forward in every aspect of development, it is important to involve the entire population including its women.
In an interview with The New Times Janet Kazaire, the President of Cooperative ‘Twisungane Iwacu (literally meaning, collective participation) of Nyanza District, said that they aim at empowering women.
“Most members of this cooperative are widows and survivors of the genocide, we cultivate vegetables mostly cabbages because they grow well here,” she said.
Besides sustainable activities, the women also attained training on the rights of children and women, Gender Based Violence through the support of ActionAid Rwanda.
Kazaire said that in their village today, it would be very difficult for a woman to be abused and pretend as if nothing is happening.
“It’s our role as mothers to foster harmony in our families, communities and the nation at large. Therefore, we have become the voice of everyone,” Kazire enthusiastically says.
Joanna Kerr, Chief Executive of ActionAid during her three-day visit in Rwanda last month in February, was thrilled about the enthusiasm the women had in lifting themselves up from their experiences and aiming for a brighter future.
“I believe that the people here have a lot to teach the rest of the World. The amount of peace that you have, the speed of your development is something that is quite special and I would really want to know how you are able to achieve this,” Joanna Kerr said.
She also said that the women gave her great energy to the hard work that she does after listening to their different experiences.
“In many countries at night when the violence is going on, the women will come out and blow whistles and start beating drums so that everyone can know that in this house the beating is happening so the violence stops then. You could also do it in your communities,” she advised.
Immaculate Nyirampore, Vice President of ‘Mpore dukunde inzuki’ literally translated as ‘let’s love bees’ said that all the members in their cooperative were victims of Gender Based Violence.
“We appreciate the work of our community leaders because they have connected us to Non-Government organization that have empowered us economically, in terms of trainings and in many others things. Most of us had lost hope after leaving our homes where we were being abused on a daily basis. It was so hard for us to free speak about our traumatizing situations without feeling embarrassed,” Nyirampore explains.
She also said that it’s their role as the once victims of Gender Based Violence to greatly advocate for women’s rights in their communities.
“We speak out about our experiences so that the women who are protecting their abusive partners can come out and also expose them if we are to end this vice of domestic violence in homes,” Nyirampore said.
The 48 members of ‘Mpore dukunde inzuki’ are greatly involved in Bee Keeping activities and each look after at least three children from their previous marriages and none of them have re-married.