The National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPD) has trained 200 street beggars in various life skills as part of a campaign aimed at ending begging on Kigali streets.
The training started at the launch of the anti- begging campaign organised by the National Council of People with Disabilities in partnership with Rwanda Bureau of Services and Development (RBSD) last week.
The campaign, the first of its kind, sought to empower the beggars with skills in various fields, including carpentry, tailoring, weaving baskets and salon dressing.
Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the executive secretary of the NCPD, encouraged beneficiaries, who included those with disabilities to form cooperatives and engage in income generating activities.
“Begging can never be a solution to improve our lives, but we must make all efforts to ride high or overcome challenges to engage in creative business to improve our lives,” he said.
Christopher Cyubahiro, the information officer RBSD, said that many of the disabled persons still consider begging as their own way of earning a livelihood, but they need to get involved in income-generating activities to become self reliant.
“Self employment will be the only solution to fight unemployment among people living with disabilities,” he said.
He called on all people who have the tendency of begging to focus on developmental ideas instead of sitting on the streets to beg.
It was noted that employed people with disabilities are still very few which leaves them in extreme poverty.
One of the former beggars, John Bumvumwe who trained in basket weaving said life was not easy because of his physical disability. And he hoped the new skills will help him lead a dignified life.
Walking on crutches, the father of three recalled that he used to leave Nyamirambo in Nyarugenge every morning to sit on strategic streets in downtown Kigali to beg.
“Since I had no job and no money to run my own business, begging was my last option to survive,” said the elderly man who lost a leg to polio at a very tender age.
“I resorted to begging in order to fend for my primary school going children and wife, who is also physically handicapped due to a road accident.”
But he is now on a new trajectory.
“With the skills I now have, life is going to be diffrent,” he said.