Ndego: Abandoned women struggle to raise kids as extreme hunger ravages the area
When she got married eight years ago, Marie Rose Yafashije thought it was a heaven on earth, a place of joy and an opportunity to form own family.
Little did she think that at one point, her husband would abandon her and she would have to take care of the kids herself; however, when hunger struck the Ndengo area, the family left with no option as they had nothing to eat.
“The husband left me with children saying that he was going to find a job.” Says a desperate mother of four.
The hunger that invaded them has become persistent for seven years now. It is a result of the long dry spells that started in 2015 hitting the Akagara National Park neighborhood.
Yafashije’s crops dried in her eyes and before her husband decided to abandon them in the search of jobs to feed the struggling family.
After waiting for a long time, Yafashije realized there was little hope for her husband to return. She meant to go back to her parents’ home to stay there but she could not succeed. Her parents advised her to go back home and wait for the return of her husband other than leaving the house alone.
“My family used to send me some food to feed my children while waiting for their father to return home,” Yafashije says.
“I opted to leave my children home alone and go to work for my neighbors who had casual work to earn a living, that’s how me and my kids managed to stay alive,” She adds.
A shared story
Yafashije is not the only woman who faced such hustles and struggles in Ndego. Clemence Uwineza was left alone by her husband who went to Tanzania in 2018; “Men don’t resist hunger, you know,” said Uwineza.
“Since my husband left in 2018, I don’t know whether he is still alive or not. I hope that he will be able to think about us if he is alive unless he has got someone else,” she added.
They work two in one
Jean Claude Ngabonziza from Ramiro cell in Ndego sector says that for women left by their husbands, to survive together with their children is not at all an easy task.
“Even men have to migrate to neighboring sectors to find food, but for those ‘ Abandoned women’ it is even harder, because they have to provide for their children and take care of them at the same, ” he says.
Some fail to carry the burden
Even if abandoned women in Ndego tried to maintain their homes, and keep raising their children despite the hard time and struggles, some were not able to just wait.
A neighbor to one of the women left by their husbands more than three years now, says that the woman is now pregnant; and it’s not only her but some others are either pregnant or have got new babies.
The administration asserts to know about it
The Executive secretary of Ndego sector, Claude Bizimana, says that they are aware of cases where men abandoned their homes and never returned home.
“We are working in collaboration with different organizations such as Partners in Health, to see how children from the affected families can go back to school, and how the rest of the family can get basics for daily life; the advocacy at the district level is also ongoing.” He said.
The drought spells that became persistent and ended up pushing families to the limits in the Ndego sector. The issue has lasted for many years as there is no rain every season but nothing was almost done by authorities to find a sustainable solution to support the affected families.
Every year comes with new challenges for women abandoned by their husbands and they don’t have a strategy to face it alone.
This story is supported by Social Impact Reporting Initiative (SIRI), but the content is the sole responsibility of the journalist and the media publisher.