Defiant blind women turns into exemplary farmer in Musanze
Musanze- Nyirabukema Beatrice became visually impaired when she was 20 years old in 2000 as a result of a sudden disease. Now 36, her life was a long journey, from depressed to a mother with clear vision residing in Gataraga sector of Musanze district in the Northern Province.
Then pregnant, Beatrice was abandoned by her husband just after losing her sight. She struggled to bring up her 14 years old school girl whom she doesn’t know the face. Some members of the family thought it was a curse, a sober situation which immersed her into a hopeless and depressed life.
It was sunshine when she learnt that there is a center for the blind which provide trainings for the visually impaired. “I was married in 2000 and my husband abandoned me just after I lost my sight. It was hard for me to go outside; I preferred to stay inside the house and it was difficult to someone to meet me. A friend came and told me that there is a school for the blind in Masaka, I joined that school in 2008 whereby I gained different skills in six month,” explains Nyirabukema.
At Masaka center for the blind, Nyirabukema went through rehabilitation, learnt agriculture and husbandry skills and home activities like cooking. This helps him to be self-reliant instead of being dependent and burden to society.
She has now seven sheep she keeps at home, cultivates irish potatoes and vegetables. The seven sheep she has now originate from one she was given by Rwanda Union of the Blind. “That one sheep multiplied to several others, sometimes I sell some of them to get money but I have now seven. It prevented me from begging,” says Beatrice.
Nyirabukema defied misconceptions that disability is inability to become an exemplary farmer in her village. She has a key dream, “My dream is to educate my daughter, now 14. I want her to study to the highest level and that she would never regret being a child of a blind mother,” expresses Nyirabukema.
From her farming activities, she managed to build her own house and says her earnings enable her to be an important person in the family. Her daughter dreams to become a medical doctor and hopes to cure her mother and bring back her mother’s sight.
SUCCESS STORY 2
Eggplant blind bachelor farmer builds own house in Rubavu
Twagiramungu Theophile is 39 years old visually impaired. He was born blind and struggled with formal education to drop from secondary level in Gahini Secondary School in 1998.
His parents tried to bring him to HVP Gatagara center in Nyanza district before he joined the secondary school. He was on the way to what he thought would be bright future. He later dropped due to illness and 998 infiltration (abacengezi) war.
Residing in Rubavu sector of Rubavu district, Twagiramungu never surrendered and tried to find alternatives of earning his living. He usually cultivates vegetables and other crops and is also breeds cattle. As of the December he was preoccupied of eggplant plantation from which he expects to collect close to Rwf 200,000.
“If I have invested about Rwf 100,000 I expect to harvest to the tune ranging between Rwf 150,000-Rwfs180, 000. So I can use the interest to buy for example a big and a duck, animal that grow fast and can help prosper a projected timeline,” elaborates the born visually impaired man.
Twagiramungu Theophile blames those who still think that disabled people are not able to do useful generating activities to themselves and the society. He is planning to get married but says he is first building his capacity so that he won’t be a burden to her partner. “You first prepare your future so that the partner doesn’t say that you live on her because disability,” says Theophile who adds “Disability doesn’t mean inability. Every disabled person is capable of something. For example I am here in plantation; I borrowed money from our Disabled People’s Assocition, which means that I will have money in the near future.
Twagiramungu Theophile as so far built his own house and equipped with home furniture and is pursuing vocational training at Rubavu center for disabled people. He believes that once he finishes the training, he will be able to diversify his sources of income and reach a better life like other citizens. “I have built a house and tried to equip it. I am also pursuing vocation trainings because when you have skills, it enables to have multiple sources of income.
Theophile however points out his call for advocacy so that the disabled people be trusted and given loans by financial institutions. He says loan collaterals are still a challenge and asks the concerned parties to look into challenge.