Close to 20 years ago, Rwandan was faced by one of the century’s greatest man-made catastrophes when it lost over a million souls in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
As a result, the country had the herculean tasks of rebuilding the social fabrics, state institutions and infrastructure, all from scratch.
But it also had to grapple with the tens of thousands of orphans and many child-headed households that needed the basics to start a new life. Today, many of the children have become adults, largely through government and none governmental efforts.
The most outstanding and perhaps one of the most far reaching organization that has transformed many lives is Imbuto Foundation, a brainchild of First Lady Jeannette Kagame that has made the future of the children its priority.
Many have found new families through Imbuto’s drive to encourage parents to regard all Rwandan children as their own, to nurture them so they can grow in a conducive environment.
The issue of orphans and homeless children is also confounded by a high – and sometimes irresponsible – birth rate mainly due to ignorance. Today, parents are encouraged to bear children they are able to rear and provide for.
The results today have started to bear fruit, but it will take more than just the government’s and charitable organisations’ efforts to reverse the trend, a massive mind change strategy is needed, especially in rural areas, where children are brought to this world with no contingency plans for their upbringing, leaving it all to God and fate.