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Kids with mental disability get Christmas treat from Children’s Commission

The National Commission for Children (NCC) paid a visit to AVEH Umurerwa Centre as part of its annual Christmas celebrations focusing on vulnerable children.

The centre, located in Nyamata Sector, Bugesera District, is host to 92 children with mental disabilities.

Twenty two of them have severe disability which requires them to stay at the Centre for full time specialized care

NCC donated Rwf 1.5 million to the centre and distributed an assortment of gifts to the children.

Eugene Ndayambaje, the director of the Center explained the challenges they have to deal with.

“Taking care of children with mental disability demands great financial means as they need professional care, constant medication and most of it expensive,” he said.

“Sometimes we can’t afford to give them all the necessary care, now with this support we hope to expand our services.”

Jeanette Uwimana, has a 3-year old mentally disabled child at the Center. She narrated her struggles of having a mentally disabled child and how she later developed a positive mindset after connecting with other parents at the Center.

“I gave birth to twins and one was disabled. Together with my husband we were totally disappointed and ashamed of my child. I would even breastfeed the other one and leave the disabled hungry, not considering her as human. Sometimes I would leave her alone in the house hoping she would die of hunger, she recounted.

“Fortunately, I heard of AVEH center and how they take care of children with mental disabilities and I decided to bring mine as well. At the center, I saw other children with the same condition or even worse than mine and I was comforted that I was not alone.

Uwimana added that apart from taking care of their children, the center put parents in saving groups and cooperatives to start income generating activities.

Dr Claudine Uwera Kanyamanza, the executive secretary of the NCC, commended the initiative of starting the center where children with mental disabilities in Bugesera District get social integration services , physical rehabilitation and other necessary care to be able to live as other children.

“We are glad to celebrate this Christmas with children with mental disabilities to show them the love they deserve as any other children in society.

We take this opportunity to also thank their parents who have been courageous enough to raise and bring their children under the spotlight so that they could get services adapted to their disabilities,” Kanyamanza said.

“But we also condemn some parents who still hide their disabled children, depriving them of necessary care. Every child, disabled or not, should be given equal consideration by their families and the whole community in general.”

She urged the community to join hands with the government and show love to vulnerable children in this festive season and other occasions for them to feel that they are not alone despite their conditions.