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Families Matter! Program reminds parents to be close to their children

La Caritas « Un pilier de leur survie »

The USAID Gimbuka project, implemented by Caritas Rwanda, through "Families Matter! Program" organized a training for project beneficiary families, especially those with children aged 9-14, reminding them of the importance of talking to,  checking on their children daily, and educating them about reproductive health.

Gimbuka, is a USAID-funded project implemented by Caritas Rwanda, under the USAID-Caritas Rwanda Cooperative Agreement since 2012. The project is in its third phase (2020-2022), with a particular focus on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) infected and affected by HIV/AIDS or victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

500 families from ( RUBAVU, RUTSIRO, KARONGI, NYAMASHEKE and RUSIZI) the districts where USAID/Gimbuka operates, are being trained; 100 from Rusizi, 81 from Nyamasheke, 114 from Karongi, 96 from Rutsiro and 110 from Rubavu.

During this training, parents are asked to highlight the problems their children are facing and children to express their problems on their side. However, sometimes parents are not aware of the children's problems because they are not checked on daily, both at home and outside.

The learning consists of explaining the different problems that their children face, such as the pressure of drug use, having friends of the opposite sex at a young age, the fact that some parents prevent the children from going to school to take care of the housework, child labor, etc.

Parents learned that they should always be there for children
Parents learned that they should always be there for children

Some of these parents say that before the Gimbuka project came along, they were raising children without really caring about their personal life, because they thought that once a child was fed, it was over, they did not ask their children what their goal in life was and how to avoid what would ruin their lives in the future.

Nsengiyumva Abdulahim said, "Before the Families Matter! Program came, I was just a parent, feeding the children and sending them to school. I couldn't talk to them, I didn't even understand the purpose of talking to them about reproductive health, they were on their own".

Uwumukiza Petronile, one of the mothers, emotionally explained that she did not realize the effect that not talking to her child could have, because often children encounter problems outside and cannot talk to their parents because they are never given the time.

She said that after 5 weeks of training, she learned a lot of things and started to put them into practice. Today, she talks to her 11-year-old daughter, stays close to her, helps her with household chores, and it even helps them bond more.

The parents are not the only ones who are grateful for the Gimbuka project, the children also say that they have found the joy of family, now they are close to their parents, which was not the case before.

Two of the children who participated in the training said, "Before, the parents only beat us and did not give us the chance to talk to them. Today we take the time to talk, they talk to us about how we behave and above all they teach us to say no to people who want to drag us into things like taking drugs, having sex, etc...".

Muhire Gilbert, a USAID/Gimbuka project employee, in the Mashyuza area, Bugarama, Muganza, Gitambi and Gikundamvura sectors, said that the training has helped the parents a lot and they have realized how much the children need them.

"The training is very important, so effective that when we started the parents were holding back tears as they realized the problems that the children endure without the parents knowing. They understood that most of the children's problems are the result of absent parents in the children's lives." Said Gilbert

He added that the parents have made the resolution to be close to the children and to help them in the best way possible so that they grow up properly.

With this training from Caritas Rwanda/USAID Gimbuka project, parents now know that they should reach out to the children and discuss various topics, including education, behaviors and discussing reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent them.

The training is in its 5th week and should last 7 weeks.

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