Originally, Uyisenga ni Imanzi was established in order to help the vulnerable survivors of the genocide that were suffering various consequences with a specified focus on child orphans.
Yet now, 22 years post-genocide, Uyisenga ni Imanzi is still managing to make a significant impact within various communities across Rwanda. Although the child population has changed, the need is the same with many vulnerable children needing help in terms of psycho-social interventions, education, life-skills, economic development and advocacy. Although there are various programs that have been employed including a community and development program, family strengthening program, advocacy and communication program, and the health, education, psycho-social and life skills program they all aim to improve the livelihood of the Rwandan people. In alleviating poverty, reducing family conflict, ensuring children stay in school, and providing people with the opportunity to create a sustainable income of their own will help to improve lives and establish well-being.
As an intern coming from a global mental health background I find it particularly interesting that these programs aim to promote mental health and wellbeing by increasing support towards basic needs through allowing members of the community to use means accessible to create a sustainable income for themselves. There are various programs that have been designed by Uyisenga ni Imanzi which each play an important role in creating an environment for which children and adults can develop a happy lifestyle. The importance of this within the community is that it allows the community to overcome one of the main barriers which exists which is that Rwandan families do not know how to invest in their children which is one element to cyclical poverty. Uyisenga ni Imanzi helps to promote holistic rehabilitation that includes health, psycho-social, social, economic development, and legal help programs designed to target specific populations.
Some of the projects include income generating activities, trainings and workshops, livestock projects, agricultural projects, and constructing and renovating shelter. This internship has demonstrated the effectiveness of programs aimed at specific populations and the differences that can be made in their lives through the good will of charities like Uyisenga ni Imanzi.
By Lynne Currie (MSc in Global Mental Health)