On Mother’s Day, thousands gather to honor the strong and loving women in their lives who have raised them into the people they are. Motherhood in Rwanda is a special phase in life and there are many incredibly strong women who are fighting to improve the lives of their families who deserved to be celebrated.
Sandrine, a mother of one daughter aged five, is one of them.
Sandrine’s daughter is the light of her life. She tells us, “I like sitting with my daughter and hearing about what she learned at school. I look at her school notebook and try to explain more about what she is learning so that she can understand better. She gets really happy when I spend this time with her and it also makes me really happy.” Sandrine’s situation has not always been easy. She has struggled in the relationship with her husband, but has always done what she could to help her daughter.
Sandrine got married when she was eighteen and quickly found her life turning for the worse. Her husband used to beat her and stopped her from going to church or any sort of community gathering. He was fearful that if she spent time with other women, they would encourage each other to stop respecting their husbands.
Sandrine heard about Women for Women International when a community health worker visited her home. She joined the program shortly after and has already seen a drastic change in her life in the 7 months of the program. Sandrine’s husband has also joined the Men’s Engagement program and attended a training on gender equality. Sandrine is happy to report that her husband no longer hits her thanks to this training. He now encourages her to attend the Women for Women International program and other community meetings. Sandrine has begun to see the value that she has. She has already worked with five other women to save up money in order to start a small rabbit raising business. She is also learning how to paint houses as part of her vocational training program and dreams of starting a cooperative when she graduates.
These changes in Sandrine’s life have also benefited her daughter. She says, “Above all, I’ve learned about health, sanitation, and nutrition. I’ve learned safer ways of keeping my home clean and have also learned a lot about what kind of foods my daughter needs to eat in order to grow up strong and healthy. Now I make sure she eats vegetables like spinach and she’s starting to really likes them.”
For all the other mother’s in the world, Sandrine has a piece of advice this Mother’s Day. She says, “Keep learning. You don’t have to stop learning just because you became a mother. Prepare a good life for your children by finding new ways to work and save money so you can buy things like health insurance for them. Don’t stop trying to develop your family’s life.”
Thanks for the advice Sandrine! We are so proud of Sandrine for her strength and her perseverance in the face of difficulty. Happy Mother’s day Sandrine! You deserve it.