On 16 June, Rwanda joined other African countries to observe the Day of the African Child (DAC) under the theme: “Malayika Murinzi, a Call to all Rwandans".
The theme was selected to recognize “Malayika Murinzi” (Guardian Angels) for their role in promoting the value of caring for all children and motivate other parents to replicate the same good practice. The 'Guardian Angels' campaign was initiated and popularised by Imbuto Foundation with full support of the First Lady of Rwanda Mrs. Jeannette Kagame in 2007. It consisted of identifying and rewarding adults who have shown remarkable compassion and selflessness by adopting, caring and protecting vulnerable children in their own communities. It was a continuation of the African First Ladies program known as “Treat every child as your own” started in 2005. Since its inception, a total of 216 'guardian angels' have been rewarded by First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame in recognition of their exceptional work.
Later in 2013, NCC received the handover of the ‘Malayika Mulinzi’ initiative from Imbuto Foundation after the Government of Rwanda approved the Strategy For National Child Care Reform in 2012 to promote the establishment of an alternative child care system based on the positive Rwandan social values where all Rwandans and their families are encouraged to take responsibility for children without birth families or deprived of parental care in a family based environment. To drive the implementation of the strategy, the Tubarerere Mu Muryango (Let’s Raise Children into Families) Programme (TMM) was put in place and Malayika Murinzi have been conerstones in this implementation.
In addition to 3000 Malayika Murinzi identified under Imbuto Foundation initiative, the TMM Programme has so far, selected, assessed, trained and accredited 1,440. More importantly, 533 of them have received children from institutions, 646 received abandoned children while 261 are still waiting for children to foster.
The celebration of the Day of the African Child has been an opportunity to call on parents, community, caregivers and local authorities to promote a safe family environment for children, the culture of taking care of all children, to protect children from all forms of abuse and prevent anything that can lead to child -family separation and institutionalization.
Due to COVID19 preventive measures, the Day of the African Child was celebrated by raising awareness on Radio/TV and social media calling everyone to protect children and prevent anything that can deprive them from being raised in a family.
Showcasing key achievements of the implementation of Strategy for National Child Care Reform
While observing the Day of African Child, we acknowledge the strides made in the implementation of the 2012 Strategy for National Child Care Reform.
Since the adoption of the strategy, a lot has been done including the establishment of a cadre of professional social workforce comprised of 15 social workers and 15 psychologists, the reintegration into family and community based care 3289 children out of 3782 children that were living in orphanages/institutions; the creation and empowerment of community based child protection cadre of 29,674 volunteers known as Inshuti z’Umuryango/Friends of the Family based at Village levels.
In addition, the TMM programme continued the Malayika Murinzi initiative to recruit, assess, train and accredit 1440 Malayika Murinzi, 32 orphanages were transformed into centers of socio-economic performing activities that are impactful to the society, while people’s thinking of raising children in institutionswas addressed through awareness campaigns that were organized to promote positive Rwandan social values that encourage all Rwandans and their communities to take responsibility for vulnerable children.