Irish Aid Rapid Response Initiative
Case Study22 August 2018
Distribution site: Kinyinya
Vestine Ntakarutimana, 25 years old
“I am vulnerable because of the colour of my skin and false beliefs about albinos.”
Vestine is albino and a single mother of two daughters aged 5 years and 1.5 months. Her eldest daughter is also albino while her youngest is not. Her daughters have different fathers but neither wanted to live with her and she receives no support for the two children. Her second partner left the country for Tanzania and the first disappeared and Vestine has heard no news of him since.
“In the beginning, I lived peacefully in my native colline of Musumba but I was forced to leave our home for the provincial centre of Ruyigi with my little sister, who is also albino, as well as 50 other albinos in order to be protected by the police from the systematic killing of albinos in 2008.”
“We spent a year in the provincial centre and, when it came to leaving, I did not return to my native colline because we are still afraid of being killed. The population of Kinyinya colline built us a house so that we have shelter here near the Kinyinya communal office and we are safe but I no longer have access to our family’s land since it is too far away and I am afraid of being killed. When all my neighbours fled to Tanzania in 2015 and 2016, I was afraid to flee because I could have been killed on the way there due to the colour of my skin so my sister and I stayed in Kinyinya. My sister and I, like all albinos, are always at risk of being killed because of false beliefs about witchcraft: people believe that by killing us and using certain parts of our body, such as the limbs or the teeth, fishermen can miraculously catch more fish. This situation has thrown me into a state of constant fear, restricts my movements and makes me poorer and poorer and more vulnerable.”
“The sun is a problem for me. I make a living from casual agricultural work but every time I am exposed to the sun, the skin on my face and other parts exposed is damaged. The sun also affects my vision.”
“I appreciate the support given by Concern because these kits will make up for some of our needs and especially things like the blankets because my skin is very sensitive to the cold and this will help with the pain my sister, my children and I feel. The hygiene kit is going to help me improve our health because we are going to regularly wash our clothes with soap, and the shampoo will help keep my hair tidy and I will become pretty again. May God bless you and please continue to think of us, without forgetting other vulnerable people too.”
Constance Habonimana, 56 years old
Constance is a mother of eight children and is alone because her husband left eight years ago to find work in Tanzania. Her husband left six children at home and two others were born in his absence. She does not know if her husband is still alive. When he left, the roof of the family home would let water in when rained and after a couple of years, it eventually collapsed. With great difficulty, Constance built another house made from straw and that is where the family now lives.
In July 2016, Constance fled Burundi for Tanzania following prolonged food scarcity. She and her family walked for an entire week before arriving at the Nduta refugee camp. After a few months, Constance became ill (with sever pains in her upper limbs). The care she received in the camp did not cure her and she decided to return to Burundi. “They cared for me but in vain and I decided to return to Burundi to die at home.”
Currently, Constance lives with four of her children in a straw house and finds it difficult to feed them with the revenue from casual work. Because of her poor health, she generally works two hours per day and so earns less than those who work all day. Her strategy is to work for two hours and then rest for an hour so she can finish her work and get paid.
“I am delighted to have been selected to receive this kit, which has come to me at the right moment. My children will sleep under these blankets from tonight and now I can replace our mosquito nets, which were worn and had holes from mouse bites. We really needed the hygiene kit and kitchen materials and now I have them for free thanks to Concern. Thank you so much.”