Fond memories and hope as Steve and Jane return with a mission

The 14th February was celebrated in true Valentine style as Steve and Jane paid a courtesy call to NOUSPR. More than 2 years ago, Steve worked as a volunteer at NOUSPR donating his time, money and energy to give hope to affected persons. His partner Jane, working for another NGO in Rwanda all the same would find the time to come and support Steve and the entire NOUSPR family.

Steve and Jane in the office

It was therefore all smiles , cheers  and laughter when the elderly couple flew in from UK and visited NOUSPR. And what better day than Valentine when love and companionship envelopes all nations and homesteads and offices! The old  friends of NOUSPR who worked with it  during its informal stage and saw it standing on its feet, returned to check on their pet child. And what a pleasant surprise it was for  Steve and Jane to find NOUSPR has since grown  from a struggling start up to a formidable entity with 11 man Staff. It was all hugs as the two encountered their old friends: Jackie , Bernadette and Sam.  New staff who had heard of the selfless contributions of the couple joined the “oldies” to welcome the visitors, glowing with smiles. Intermittent laughter and jokes ignited the hearty conversations and a lot was shared during the lunch time reunion. The visiting friends had gifts for everyone and the hosts shared a hot meal of Kaunga (maize meal) , baked beans and enyama zo’munda ”inside meat”

Steve and Jane are back to explore how their newly registered charity FORWARD AFRICA can support needy secondary students in Rwanda. And as they say, charity begins at home. So NOUSPR is in talks to see how children of our members can receive priority as beneficiaries. NOUSPR is gratefully happy to see Steve put his trust in us and consider it to be his partners in accomplishing his old age mission in Rwanda.  It is indeed a unique opportunity for us to work together again and trust our partnership will be more fruitful than ever before.

The entire staff , Board and members of NOUSPR join hands in welcoming back Steve and Jane to Rwanda. We thank you earnestly for considering NPUSPR as a potential partner and wish Forward Africa a rewarding experience in Rwanda. We feel more than blessed of all the local organizations in Rwanda.

Story by Dan KARANGWA Volunteer

Kadette Chantal – her life’s journey with psycho social difficulties

CASE STUDY – KADETTE CHANTAL – HER LIFE’S JOURNEY WITH PSYCHO SOCIAL DIFFICULTIES

Kadette (Second left) , mother with Patient Experts , Vestine far left and shemus -right

 

Kadette Chantal – her life’s journey with psychosocial difficulties
Since 17th December 2014, NOUSPR has been looking after a young woman with mental illness. A mother of 3 kids at just 19 years, her story came to light after she was picked from the street by Kanombe patrol police. Unable to utter a single word, and completely disoriented, the police called Sam Badege NOUSPR Director.
The police officer was of the view that because she was not violent “we can keep her with us preferably in the cells’’ affirmed the A.I.P Vianny of Kanombe police Station. The Director sent NOUSPR patient expert by the name of Mukeshimana Vestine who brought her to NOUSPR. Kadette, as her physical appearance could tell had spent several days wandering by the road side or sleeping on verandas of different houses. She looked dirty, hungry and had a dry cough. The young woman who appeared a teenage girl looked totally confused. She could not answer simple questions like ‘What is your name?’ Where are you coming from? ‘Who are your parents?’’.
NOUSPR team assigned the Patient Expert to dedicate her time to the young mute woman and try to get to the bottom of her troubles. Indeed, after a few minutes she reported back. I suspect her to be autistic, pregnant and suffering from cerebral malaria; she has a protruded stomach, fever, and pale white eyes as a result of lack of blood’’.
The PE’s observations prompted NOUSPR to arrange for an urgent medical examination at the nearby clinic. When done, it confirmed that Kadette was actually suffering from malaria, and had a sexually transmitted infection. It further revealed that besides ,or as a result of ,her mental health condition, she was a victim of countless incidents of rape. The doctor felt that she walked with her head down due to the guilt and shame as a result of being abused for a long time. “ The Doctor recommended, “Take care of her and build her confidence so that she feels protected then you will know what to do after that ’’

Vestine, the PE, Kadette and Shemus NOUSPR chairperson
Vestine who is our Patent Expert took Kadette to her home in Mageragere where she spent two weeks including Christmas days with her. With passion and love, Vestine started training her in self helps skills, encouraging her to talk, to pray and engage in sports. Vestine was gradually able to extract the following information make her talk, laugh and do some work.

Kadet’s true story as told by her mother
She was born in 1992; making her 23 years old at the time of her mental illness. It all started when she was in primary three. She started by forgetting her belongings at school, whenever her mother could scold or beat her, she could ran away from home and sleep outside, It only took few months before she disappear red for several months from home. She came back in 2009 when she was 17 years old. At that time, she was eight months pregnant. Soon after, she gave birth to a baby boy. Soon after the delivery, Kadet abandoned the baby with her mother and disappeared again. In a few months, she became pregnant again. Unfortunately, it was difficult to find out who the father was. At the time of being brought to NOUSPR Kadet had a total of three children –all whose biolgicla father was unknown. They have all been taken in by the SOS Orphanage.
Kadette is unable to point out who the fathers of her children are , but expressed fondness for them. She said ‘’Ndabakunda’’ a Kinyarwanda word meaning ‘’I love them’’ when she heard PEs discussing among themselves that she might not be aware that she is a mother of the three children.
KADETTE Chantal resides in Gahoromani, Gako Cell, Masaka sector; she is the daughter to the late Ndayihoranye and Mucyeshimana. She is the second born among two sisters and four brothers..
Kadette –the search for her home and Mother

In search of her home, Vestine and other PEs eventually discovered that Kadette’s mother lives in Gahoromani. The team went down to the village of Muyumbu where they found her mother with her siblings. They told them that Kadette was alive and doing well. At first the mother could not believe it. After a long conversation with her she was convinced and agreed to come to NOUSPR office to meet her long lost daughter. It was a really moving experience to witness the affection between mother and a child. They held each other in a tight hug for a long time as tears fast rolled down their cheeks. This emotional scene touched every one present and it was time for tears of joy to all!

Kadette is now settled at her mother’s home and as she is improving in her behaviors. When NOUSPR team last checked, she was now able to do the casual work like washing, laying the bed and some simple work given to her. Kadette has a habit of following her mother around wherever she is goes. The mother told us that there is a big change since she came. She used not to bath but she now does, she can also be involved in some activities at home. Her mother said “there is a big improvement with her daughter and gave many thanks to NOUSPR for their kindness, all the support and efforts. “ Thank you for the effort to find my daughter and for having brought about such a big change in my daughter’s life; May God bless you all for the work you are doing”.

Sculptor paints the full picture: being there for the affected person

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Sculptor paints the full picture-being there for the affected person

A donation that brought tears!

Right as you enter NOUSPR offices you are welcomed by an effigy of a woman whose right hand is holding the chest of a person and her left hand is gently placed on his shoulder expressing solace to the troubled person. You will no doubt spend some minutes intrigued by this sculpture before you say hello to anybody around there because it is a memorable figure!

It all began when Professor  William Kayamba,  head of Arts department at Uganda Christian University (UCU) , Mukono visited NOUSPR. he was deeply touched after seeing how members with psycho social challenges  frequent the office. It was even more heart moving to see NOUSPR staff sparing no effort to render any possible support to them; he went back home and came back with an idea of constructing the figure.

As tears of Joy rolled down cheeks of on lookers, during the hand over of the sculpture to NOUSPR, Dr. Kayamba said: ‘’I read with interest the mission and vision of NOUSPR and its literature everywhere in the office; I got time to interact with the staff and I saw how you the clients (people with psycho social disability) enjoy coming to NOUSPR.  I got the impression that NOUSPR must be worthy of a home for people with psycho social disabilities ; where they are treated with respect and dignity, this makes them feels at home and hopeful for tomorrow. I was challenged to see the people who many regard as hopeless and non productive exhibiting confidence and hope for a better life. I kept thinking how the message could be accessible to all and be spread wide and far in a pictorial way’’ stated Dr. William as he was handing over the Statue to  NOUSPR Executive Director Badege Sam.

We wish to express our gratitude to all people who appreciate our work and respond in such refreshing way, we pledge to commit to the work that promotes and protects people with psycho social disability here and everywhere else on the globe. Thank you Dr. Kayamba. Your succinct imagery will remain indelible both physically and mentally.

How peer support offers hope !

NOUSPR is very concerned about the welfare and household development of its members and does it through developing guidelines and strategies. These are then disseminated to its group members and follow up to see the progress is done through  field visits. So, this is how a delegation from NOUSPR office comprised of John Tugume Field Officer, Winnie Tumwine the Project Officer and Cindy Casedy the international Volunteer in Mental Health Issues visited one of NOUSPR’s group members called TWISUNGANE-BUNGYE in Nyaruguru district, Southern province.

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NOUSPR team with group members

sharing a meal after the work shop

 

The main objective of the visit was to monitor and promote the human rights of people with psycho social disability as well as sensitize people with psycho social disability about their right to property and the right to sustainable independent life. Cindy Casedy who is a professional psychologist assesses the mental health issues/challenges that may impede the group’s progress, John translates and makes a report and Winnie takes care of logistics. Members are actively involved in the VSLG (Village Savings and Loan Group) a savings and lending money program and this creates a strong bond of the group members and also encourages them to have a saving culture.

 

 

A better future for Gatunda Street Kids

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Former street kid has a go at writing

Over the first week of January 2017, NOUSPR held a literacy event for street kids. Held at our offices in Kabeza, a Kigali suburb , over 360 exercise books, pens and other gifts including magazines, foot balls, music equipment and colored pencils for drawing were given to the street kids through its self help groups. NOUSPR donated a consignment of books and other materials to street kids following a six month drive aimed at empowering them to improve their writing and reading skills.
NOUSPR  believes that helping vulnerable kids  inspires them to aspire for a better future. It is envisioned that by learning to read,  the street kids will gain knowledge for future use as most of the kids are still at this tender age
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‘’Street kids need a helping hand while still at a tender age, for they will be able to manage themselves in future.’’  BADEGE said during the launch event. Besides giving those books and other writing materials, NOUSPR is also planning to routinely organize writing and reading competitions during which  the best stories for the street kids will be rewarded at the group and individual levels. additionally NOUSPR will explore a magazine to publish their stories far and wide. NOUSPR hopes that reading fantasy tales will help children’s imagination to grow so that they can dream big.

NOUSPR have also been inspiring the street kids to discover their talents, there are some who are interested in foot ball, others in music and comedy. We believe that if we loffer them a chance to dream, they will strive and yearn to be like authors or heroes they used to read about,” she said.
NOUSPR hopes to keep facilitating rehabilitation of street children through  music ,dance and drama as well as computer classes, while improving literacy through reading and writing. This complements the plan of the Government of Rwanda which is to increase literacy among all Rwandans.

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Children from Kinyinya , Gasabo District show their joy as they receive their learning material

United for better service delivery :Kabarore HC sets the pace

On 6th September 2016  NOUSPR, in conjunction with UPHLS -the umbrella body for HIV promotion amongst PWDs of Rwanda under the project  “Local Non-governmental Partnerships for Sustained Country Leadership in Rwanda’’ conducted an advocacy event with local authorities in Gatsibo District , Eastern province. The flagship event was the launch of a Health Center and model  in accessible facilities. The event was presided over by various local government officials, ministries, embassies and other government dignitaries.  The guest of honor was the Director of good governance who represented by the Governor of Eastern Province, Ms. UWAMARIYA Odette.

The day’s activities included  a guided tour to the health centre, accessible walk ways, accessible parking for persons with disabilities, ramps and accessible toilets. The participants also toured the ARV services to experience first hand a person with disability accessing medical services without any environmental or communication limitation.

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Different testimonies were shared by people with psycho social disability as to how the facility was previously of less use to them as it was not accessible to them, and how it is of more use because of the accessible facilities made by NOUSPR and UPHLS. People with psycho social disability also cited how the service providers, particularly psychiatric nurses are now friendly ,attributed to series of training offered by NOUSPR. The head of health center gave a moving speech on how before it was difficult for persons with disabilities to access the facility and all health service were not used by people with disabilities particularly the psychiatric unit, HIV and AIDS. Some of the services are on the first floor of the building where now people with disabilities reach without any limitation because there is a ramp for physically disabled and wheel chair users. The staff were trained in guidance and  techniques of handling people with mental illness. Additionally,  there was demonstration of touch tile for the blind and sign language interpreters for the deaf. This leader expressed satisfaction that the centre is now a model in the country as today it is well equipped with the accessible ways and trained staff and people with disabilities are aware, benefit and appreciate the services. In different speeches, the government leaders appreciated the work done by NOUSPR and UPHLS and pledged the will of the government to continue to advocate for such initiatives in other health facilities.

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Mme. BYUKUSENGE Madeleine gives the speech of Ms. UWAMARIYA Odette, GoH

In her speech, Mme. BYUKUSENGE Madeleine who was representing the Governor of the             Eastern Province appreciated the work done by UPHLS and NOUSPR as response for the PWDs to utilize the health services delivered in Kabarore Health Center. She recalled the history of people with disabilities in Rwanda where they used not to be thought of or talked about in public; she said how discrimination and marginalization was a norm and culture and how that culture is bad. This politician cited an example of families who used to hide their family members because they are disabled. In the name of the Governor of eastern province she promised to promote the political will to protect the human rights of people with disabilities where they will be treated equally and fight discrimination of any kind that is based on one’s disability.  She reminded other health centers in the province to follow the example of Kabarore Health centre.