Scuffles as women storm solidarity camp

There was drama, yesterday, at the on-going Kigali City Council (KCC) solidarity camp after scores of commercial sex workers, female beggars and street vendors, tried to forcefully enter the meeting being held at the Red Cross head-quarters in Kacyiru.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS: Owing to limited capital and family responsibilities most women have found it hard to expand their businesses.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS: Owing to limited capital and family responsibilities most women have found it hard to expand their businesses.

There was drama, yesterday, at the on-going Kigali City Council (KCC) solidarity camp after scores of commercial sex workers, female beggars and street vendors, tried to forcefully enter the meeting being held at the Red Cross head-quarters in Kacyiru.

Some sustained injuries, after they were forcefully dispersed by security guards.

The camp is being attended by at over 250 women, all former commercial sex workers, beggars and street vendors.

It aims to empower the women with entrepreneurship skills before they are given money to start income generating activities that will drive them out of poverty. 

However, drama ensued after a 100 women from different parts of Kigali city turned up at the gates of the Red Cross head-quarters, where the ten-day solidarity camp that started on Tuesday is being held.

The angry women claimed to have been left out of the programme, demanding that they also be integrated within the initiative.

Jacqueline Nyirahabimana, a city vendor who sustained minor injuries in the scuffle, said that when they heard about the training, they decided to be part of it because they were tired of running away from the police every day.

“But when we reached here, we were denied entry and beaten by the security guards,” said Nyirahabimana, a 22-year old mother of two who hails from Kimironko.

“We don’t know why we were not allowed to enter when actually our fellow women vendors were allowed in.”

Claudine Uwamahoro, who was also injured in the scuffle, said that most of her colleagues were allowed in but she was denied the chance.

In an interview, Marie Chantal Murekatete, who is in charge of gender and family promotion in KCC, said that the solidarity camp was organized for ‘only those who have been held at Gikondo transit centre by the mobile police unit.’

“We have received reports that there are some females who joined the camp illegally. This training is only meant for 250 female from Gikondo transit centre,” she said. 

The solidarity camp that concludes on September 17 will see each beneficiary walk away with Rwf50, 000 courtesy of KCC, with which they are expected to start small income generating activities.

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