Treat house-helps with courtesy, says official

House-helps should be treated with courtesy and love as one of the ways to curb child abuse and domestic violence, Christine Umuhire, the director of family promotion and protection at the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, has said.

House-helps should be treated with courtesy and love as one of the ways to curb child abuse and domestic violence, Christine Umuhire, the director of family promotion and protection at the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, has said.

“We find a housemaid in almost every homestead around the city; other households have more than one, they are part of the family and they deserve as much love and respect as every member of the family. This will reduce risks of violating their rights as well as improving peace in the family,” said Umuhire, adding that this also reduces the risk of the house helps abusing the children that are left in their care.

She was speaking at the advocacy and capacity building meeting for domestic workers organised by Association for the Defence of Human Rights, Sustainable Development and Family Welfare (ADBEF).

Training housemaids

The meeting was held at Kimisagara One Stop Youth Employment and Productive Centre in Nyarugenge District, yesterday.

Umuhire said some housemaids are psychologically, emotionally or financially abused by their employers and some decide to turn their frustrations to the younger members of the family or children, rather than confronting their bosses.

“We are against any form of violence,” Muhire said, adding that, “housemaids should speak up against any violence experienced in homes where they work, rather than turning their frustration to innocent young ones,” the family protection and promotion director said.

Through the support of Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) and UNDP Rwanda, ADBEF is training domestic workers on reproductive health, family planning, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/Aids.

Lyhotely Ndagijimana, the chairperson of the ADBEF, said most of housemaids are not privileged enough to have had parental care, thus having differing behaviors that would at times influence them to make errors of judgment.

“We should understand that the majority did not go to school or grew up in secondary homes (not with their parents). They deserve love and compassion to grow into better people,” said Ndagijimana.

The month-long training of housemaids, which begins January, will benefit about 220 housemaids from three sectors of Nyakabanda, Kimisagara and Gitega.

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