BUGESERA - Wellars Nsengiyunva and Justine Nyirasabimana have been looking after vulnerable children for the last eight years of their lives.
In Nyamata, like any humanitarian organisation, they have brought hope to many orphans and children with disabilities at the ASEV-Mutimutabara center.
In 1999 Cyprien Simbabananiye, formerly working with the Red Cross in Rwanda, became concerned about the plight of orphans in the district, so he established a centre for them.
The center is now run by a committee of four; these include coordinator Dr. Aloys Ndindabahizi, vice president Nelly Mukeshimana, secretary Jean D’lec Mukamusana and treasurer Primitive Nyirahabuhazi.
Other helpers at the center include a group of three sisters from an association called Abajambo.
Over the years, from an initial orphanage with 30 children from the former commune of Kanzenze, Ngenda, Mbogo and Tale, [curved into present Bugesera district] then partly funded by the National Bank of Rwanda and MTN, the center has extended to cover over 100 children with disabilities picked from Rulindo and Bugesera districts.
These include the deaf, dumb, the mentally handicapped and the physically disabled.
“These children had nowhere to go because by virtue of being orphans and for those with disabilities their parents are too poor to give them the required attention,” Nsengiyunva says.
After completing primary six, orphans are taught vocational skills such as tailoring or welding while those with ‘less deformities’ are also enrolled in schools with special needs in Gitarama and Nyagatare.
Today the center caters for many children, 26 of which are physically handicapped, 11 mentally handicapped, and 85 with multiple disabilities.
Nsengiyunva pointed out inadequate funding as one of the challenges, said they are busy looking for ways of acquiring permanent structures and leave the rented premises; they rely on private funding from the Netherlands-based Lillian foundation.