IRADUKUNDA Melissa, 9 years old
Melissa is the last-born child of four living in Bumbogo sector with her mother, Donatille. Melissa has down syndrome. She is highly functioning and attends nursery school. She has never received therapy or attended a special education program. Melissa’s story began an abrupt death in the family. At four months old, Melissa’s father, passed away. From that point forward, Donatille supported her entire family herself, without any assistance from family members. She attempted to find care for her daughter. After visiting several health centers and hospitals Melissa was referred to Neurologist Hospital. Unfortunately, the family did not have the money to take her there. Donatille supports her family of five by buying wholesale sorghum and re-selling it in small quantities.Sorghum is traditionally used in Rwanda to make beer, juice, and porridge so the demand is high.
Melissa is a very happy and social little girl. She loves spending time with her siblings and neighbor kids. Her older siblings are supportive and always look out for her best interest. LWA met Melissa in 2018 and hopes to find an occupational therapist who can give Melissa the therapy she needs to live a long productive life. Donatille expects to join the other mothers in the income generation programs at the Center for Family Empowerment. She said “I think it will help me in everything, my future, my income, and it will help me to be with others, so I’m not alone. It will be nice to discuss and share our lives.”LWA is lucky to have met this lovely family.