A pilot project in Rwanda

From March to June 2015, Niwagaba Gilbert facilitated a course in the ICDP programme that was attended by parents and teachers of disabled children from the Musanze district. The pilot was approved and launched by the local authorities, who signed an agreement with ICDP.

Recommendations from the report of the pilot project:

"ICDP is of great significance in helping caregivers improve on their teaching styles and rearing styles for proper child development. There is a huge demand for ICDP in Rwanda, especially to offer training to parents, teachers and head teachers of genocide survivors to enhance their nurturing competences.
Most parents and teachers are very poor to the extent that they cannot provide and cater for their lunch and transport costs to attend the training. This needs to be addressed in order for ICDP Rwanda to achieve further outreach.
ICDP training should be given to army schools to the parenting soldiers and even organizations that work and deal with children directly, such as World Vision, Save the Children and UNICEF in Rwanda."

Some of the reflections from the participants of the ICDP course:

“At first I used to isolate my blind children from the sighted ordinary children. I had four blind children in my care, but I accepted them as my children.  What I do is to love them.”
“I show love to my child by taking care of his needs like any other child. He spent four years not active, but now he is active. Most of the time I speak to him in a soft and calm manner.”
“My son is always sad so I have to find means of making him happy, sometimes using dolls.”
“My child with partial blindness appreciates those who love him and this impresses me.”
“What I love about my pupils with hearing impairment is that they always seem to want to give joy to friends and people.”
“I have four blind children and two of them go to school, whenever they bring their reports I give them praise to show my appreciation, and also small prizes for their performance”.
“I am a teacher of two deaf children who don’t speak, these children use some sign language though I don’t understand their communication - therefore I am now trying to learn the sign language, by  following their lead and learning from them.”
“My child likes building and so I took him to school, even though people were telling me that there is nothing he can do because he is disabled – however, I did not give up and after taking him to school he has greatly changed which gave me hope that he can one time meet his wish.”
“When I praise my blind children, they become happy and this way they are developing hope for the future.”

Post assessment:

D. acknowledged that he learnt how to look after and give advice to his blind children.
A. said that he learnt that the disabled children need effective and proper regular follow up to develop properly.
D. expressed that she did not know that the disabled child can go to school and study but now she will follow her child and provide all the necessities for schooling.
J. stressed that she learnt that she needs to follow her child to determine his better future and learnt how she can help  any disabled child  she might meet in her community and neighbourhood.
T. noted that  she knows parents who have disabled children like hers and in case they  don’t  look  and care  for their disabled children  well she  will always  intervene.
F. acknowledged that she learnt that disabled children are always like any other ordinary children and can contribute to the society.
A. realized that he has to look after deaf children properly and teach them so that they can have a better future.
A. realized that she has to work hand in hand with parents to determine a bright future of deaf children and also learn the sign language so as to communicate with them effectively.