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“Her family thought she could never stand on her legs”

Medical support to special cases

Sandrine Uwase, a young girl from Rwamagana district, Gishari Sector, was born with mental and physical disability and could neither walk nor stand up, but now, with the help of Gahini Hospital through the Caritas Rwanda/USAID Gimbuka project, there is hope that she will be able to walk in the near future.

Gimbuka is a USAID-funded programme implemented by Caritas Rwanda in eleven districts between 2012 and 2020. Its main objectives are to improve the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women and children under the age of five, strengthen the well-being of orphans and other vulnerable children and their families, and empower adolescent girls and young women to prevent new HIV/AIDS infections and gender-based sexual violence through the DREAMS initiative.

Sandrine Uwase, a 12-year-old girl, was identified for receiving DREAMS services such as Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and education support. But as she couldn’t attend sessions to safe space due to disability, the program has supported her to get appropriate medical care first.

Sandrine's mother sometimes participate in her daughter therapy
Sandrine's mother sometimes participate in her daughter therapy 

Batamuriza, Uwase Sandrine's mother, says she never thought her daughter would be able to walk or stand up, in her whole life. "She was born this way and life is hard as she can't do anything on her own, but now I have hope that one day my child will be able to play with others, walk or go to school even if she needs special education," she says.

Uwase Sandrine is being treated at Gahini Hospital in Kayonza district and there seems to be hope that her living conditions will change for the better. After only two weeks of physical therapy with two sessions a day, she is able to sit and stand, of course with physical therapy equipment. The nurses are confident that she is progressing well.

It is not only Sandrine Uwase who has been supported through Caritas Rwanda/USAID Gimbuka in terms of special cases, but also 7 other teenagers with physical disabilities. Some needed leg prostheses, crutches and physical therapy.

Also, some of them have mental disabilities and need special education. As Caritas Rwanda does not have access to these programs, it will advocate to other partners for additional support.

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