Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, yesterday, called on Rwandans to embrace child adoption, saying this would help phase out orphanages.
He was speaking at Nyundo orphanage in Rubavu District, where he attended a Christmas party with more than 600 children at the orphanage.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, and Unity Club.
Habumurenyi said the country has 33 orphanages with at least 3,000 orphans, compared to more than 2.5 million families.
“Leaders should serve as examples in giving another chance to less privileged children. I will take the lead by adopting a child myself from this orphanage,” he added.
The premier noted that if more Rwandans joined the child adoption campaign, there would be no more orphanages in Rwanda in a space of a year
He advised local leaders to include the adoption campaign in their annual performance contracts and to sensitise residents on the importance of giving orphans a chance to lead a family life.
Paul Nsimiyimana, an 18-year old orphan who has been in Nyundo for 17 years, appreciated the adoption policy but urged authorities to always follow up on the children to see how they are doing in their newly found families.
“We have cases where our colleagues were forced out of school and diverted into hard labour by their foster families, so following up would be very helpful,” he explained.
Nyundo orphanage was opened in 1954 by Monsignor Bigirumwami, with 52 orphans, a figure which kept increasing over the years, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“The biggest challenge is about providing care to the children who are handicapped, both physically and mentally, as it requires a lot of time and resources to look after them,” said Msgr Joseph Habiyambere, the bishop of Nyundo Diocese.