In several sectors of Gatsibo District in Eastern Province, there are children’s clubs that address needs identified in their localities.
According to district authorities, through the clubs, the children have been helping the vulnerable by working on their farms and also reaching out to fellow children to engage them in drama and charity works.
Gatsibo vice mayor in charge of social affairs Mary Kantengwa said the children show commitment to the needs in their societies and help guide some of their peers to remain in school.
One club from Remera Sector collected money and bought rabbits for other children whose parents complained that the kids were lousing around trading centres because of redundancy.
Parents say they found that rabbits actually occupy the beneficiaries in taking care of them by collecting grass, which limits loitering, especially during holidays.
Drocelle Mukantabana, a mother of two, said since the club reached out to her 12-year-old daughter, Beatrice Nyinawumuntu, in September last year, she has changed her behaviour.
During weeding time, these clubs reached out to elderly women and men and the handicapped to do some domestic and farm works for them, especially in this long holiday.
Anicet Kayiranga, a club leader in Kiramuruzi Sector, said they started out with a handful of members in 2012 but today they are more than a hundred.
“Our initial objective was to create awareness for children’s rights through music and drama in our community but as we put our hands to work we found it was impossible to tackle children issues without families and community at large,” he said.
These clubs are sponsored by and guided by the local authorities in collaboration with Children’s Voice Today, an organisation that operates in the district, advocating for children’s rights.