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|Even more possibilities|
The way people treat persons with disabilities in Rwanda doesn’t differ from surrounding countries. In those countries as well, a disability is considered shameful and families often hide them. They are often not accepted in society and only a few get the possibility of an education and later employment. Others do not have a very bright future.
Several months ago, I wrote an article about people with disabilities who have found their place in our school, whether they work as teachers or at knitting sweaters. In the article “Possibilities” I wrote about Padri Vjeko Centre where individuals who live in Kivumu have found their place. Now they have an opportunity for a better life. Here we believe it is very important to teach people the skills to help them to build their lives.
Now there are three young women who have come to Kivumu from Burundi. Sophie, Imelda and Silvane are disabled and are walking with the aid of crutches. They have come from Gitega, Burundi, to learn how to use knitting machines. Grace, Beata and Jean Marie, the knitters who make our school sweaters were taught by others and now they are the ones teaching the girls.
Our Grace, from the last article, is now patiently sharing her knowledge and experience. They have already learned a great deal. The sweaters that they are making look very good. If I had some place in my luggage, I would return to Croatia with at least one……well, maybe on my next trip I will try to squeeze in one of them!
The girls are from Gitega, where there is a Franciscan parish. Fra Floran suggested they come here to Kivumu because he knew about the program. He has been assisting them through different activities even before they came to Rwanda. All three are tailors, but the problem is that they don’t always have enough work. They work the most in the periods before Christmas and Easter. The rest of the year they are not that lucky. For this reason, it is very important for them to have additional skills that they can use when they return to Burundi. Knitting work can fill the gap when they don’t have enough work with tailoring.
Sophie, Imelda and Silvane are now my neighbours. They only speak Kirundi, which makes our verbal communication difficult so we communicate with smiles. I have to admit that I so much enjoy listening to their laughter when they come back from a day spent in the container where they are learning to knit. Not only that, they are singing while doing the dishes, washing laundry or cleaning. And they have really nice voices. They seem happy and I’m really glad. I hope that they will continue their work at home with the same enthusiasm.
Edited by Valerie Kae Ken