Malayika Murinzi: A testimony of sympathy and compassion

In April last year, Espérance Gumuzane accompanied her expectant daughter to give birth to Kabutare Hospital in Huye district, kilometres away from their home village.
Imbuto Foundation's Director General, Radegonde Ndejuru congragulates a Guardian Angel after being rewarded a certificate. The New Times / T. Kisambira
Imbuto Foundation's Director General, Radegonde Ndejuru congragulates a Guardian Angel after being rewarded a certificate. The New Times / T. Kisambira

In April last year, Espérance Gumuzane accompanied her expectant daughter to give birth to Kabutare Hospital in Huye District, kilometres away from their home village.

En route, the 60-year-old resident of Nganzo village, Buruhukiro Sector in Nyamagabe District, implored heavens to help her daughter deliver without complications. Indeed, she was excited to get yet another grandchild.

However, she was totally unaware that another task was awaiting her once at hospital: that of becoming a ‘mother’ to a newborn baby girl.

According to her account, after her daughter was admitted to the hospital’s maternity ward, she saw another woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy, but with no one to care for her.

“I approached and started to help her,” Gumuzane told The New Times.

Unfortunately, the woman passed away shortly after delivering. Gumuzane did not get a chance to know her name, “except that she hailed from Kibungo” in Ngoma District, Eastern Province.

“I decided to take the newborn. Her mother had passed away and the kid deserved care and attention like any other newborn.”

“There was no one to care for her [and] I felt that it was my responsibility,” the elderly woman explains as she carries the little girl, now about a year old, in her left arm.

Gumuzane named the child Umuhoza (which literary means comforter), perhaps because the death of the “unknown” mother shocked her much or that she wanted to comfort the baby girl.

“I consider her as my own child. I love her so much,” the woman says, a smile spread across her face.

Gumuzane was one of the four Guardian Angels, or Malayika Murinzi as they are better known, who were last week recognised for their efforts and sacrifice to protect, care for and educate children, particularly orphans.

However, her story does not start with last April’s sad event. She says she started caring for orphans years ago and, to-date, she raises three orphans, Umuhoza, the one-year-old girl, included.

“When I took the orphans to live with me, I did not expect any reward. I just did it because I felt they needed care,” Gumuzane stated. “My moral sense obliges me to care for such children”.

Extreme happiness

A ceremony on March 9 saw four Guardian Angels from Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru districts receive cows and certificates in recognition to their efforts.

Also at the ceremony, 16 best performing school girls received certificates, school materials and cash prizes for their outstanding performance in last year’s Primary and Ordinary Level examination.

The rewarding ceremony was organised as part of the campaign by Imbuto Foundation to encourage hard work and high academic performance among girls and to recognise citizens who voluntarily and exceptionally took care of orphaned children.

Approximately 3,460 girls have been rewarded and more than 280 “Malayika Murinzi” recognised since the project began.

This year alone, more than 410 girls and about 70 Guardian Angels, will be awarded.

Gumuzane told this paper that the rewards were a sign that society appreciates and values good deeds.

“I am extremely happy today. If I was not that old, I would be jumping to prove my happiness,” an elated Gumuzane said.

Speaking at the function, the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana called upon parents and educators to keep supporting girls to help them improve their performance.

He also urged girls to work hard, be self-confident and avoid all those who can compromise their future.

He further asked the Guardian Angels to keep up the good work and appealed to other citizens to emulate their actions.

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