“Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society”
“Duteganyirize ejo hazaza duteza imbere ukuzigama”
Globally, October 1st of every year, is an international day of older persons. This day was initiated by the United Nations (UN) in December, 1990. It was the 27th anniversary celebrated this year. It helps many countries to recognize the role and the rights of older persons.
In Rwanda, it was celebrated on 8th, October in Nyamasheke district at national level and in all villages/imidugudu countrywide. Huye district, in collaboration with Nsindagiza organization which promotes the rights of older persons and their welfare, the international day of older persons was celebrated in Ngoma sector.
It was a great day full of happiness of the participants, particularly the elderly who came from different sectors of Huye district.
In his welcome remarks Mr.KABALISA Arsene, Executive Secretary of Ngoma sector opened the day by welcoming the participants. He appreciated the elderly who tried their best to come even if they have difficulties related to ageing. He also congratulated the youth for their contribution and reminded them to assist and be near the elderly and comply with the theme of the day.
Mr.KABALISA Arsene, Executive Secretary of Ngoma Sector in his welcome remarks.
“WE ARE OUT OF LONELINESS”
Madam MUKARURINDA Zaïnabu, representative of NSINDAGIZA elderly support group in Ngoma Sector, on behalf of the elderly, explained their life before coming together in the group. With great happiness, she said that being in the group as older persons helped them meet and hold discussions on the different issues in their lives. This helped them to overcome the effects of loneliness among the elderly who have no families. She added that now they feel valued in the community, although they face different challenges of ageing such as dysfunctionality of the body, illnesses related to old age and other difficulties.
Complying with Rwandan theme “Duteganyirize ejo hazaza duteza imbere ukuzigama” focuses on preparing the future by saving, the members put together some money according to their capabilities and opened a saving account in microfinance SACCO (Saving and Credit Cooperative). The money they contributed helps them solve the problems of the members in their daily life.
In addition, this ESG, through their contribution and in collaboration with NSIDAGIZA organization, they were able to provide a little livestock to 7 group members (7 goats). They also decided that the first born of these goats will be given to other members selected by the group to improve their welfare and help them be productive.
Finally, she concluded by calling upon all the kind-hearted people starting by the families, to consider their roles and responsibilities towards the care of the elderly and assist them in their life journey and to respect their rights, including the right of participation in the different aspects of life.
BUILDING THE INTERGENERATIONAL BRIDGE
On behalf of NSINDAGIZA organization, Mr. MULINDA Felicien, the president of NSINDAGIZA in Huye district, focused on the challenges met by the elderly in their daily life and how they are treated in the society. He explained that NSINDAGIZA approach to combat loneliness, isolation and stigma, helped them by creating elderly support groups where they meet to discuss different issues related to ageing and together, find solutions themselves and share their concerns with the young generation where needed. He explained that the objectives of the organization are to promote the rights of old people and improve their welfare in collaboration with other community members.
He said that in Huye district, the elderly groups are in four sectors (Ngoma, Mukura, sovu and Gishamvu). He called upon government authorities, civil society and private sector to work together to improve the lives of the elderly in Huye and in the country as a whole. He explained that most of their challenges are related to poor health services, social protection such as direct support, and they are not given the opportunity to participate in the political and economic decisions. He suggested that the district puts in its planning the creation of NSINDAGIZA elderly groups in all villages/imidugudu of Huye district and to provide means for their sustainability.
He added that NSINDAGIZA Organization is not only for older persons but also the youth, as this is the right time to prepare for their elderly hood (Akabando k’iminsi gacibwa kare kakabikwa kure). NSINDAGIZA serves as an intergenerational bridge between the elderly and younger generation.
SAVING FOR THE FUTURE
In the speech of the guest of honor, Madam NIWEMUGENI Christine, social affairs of Huye district on behalf of the district, she appreciated the participants and NSINDAGIZA organization for its role and contribution in improving the lives of old people. She came again at the Nsindagiza groups from different sectors by appreciating their initiative of coming together. She called upon the young ladies and men to join the group for the purpose of helping each other. ‘Saving for the future’ Christine told the participants to save for the future and old age. She added that saving will help them in their old age not be the burden for the families.
In her closing remarks, the Vice Mayor, on behalf of Huye district, supported NSINDAGIZA elderly support group with One million Rwandan Francs (1,000,000 Frw) for their self-reliance and guaranteed the full support from the district leadership in the advocacy and awareness raising for the rights and welfare of the elderly. She concluded by telling the elderly that the front row is theirs and their ideas and advices are precious and needed in the society and she called upon the families and young people to support them in their daily lives.
The day was closed with a cultural dance by the elderly and showing to the public that regardless of the difficulties of ageing, they can entertain.