AKAYEZU Theodette, 9 years old
Theodette and her family met LWA in January 2017. Theodette was born a twin, one of seven total children in the family, but her twin sister Bernadette is not disabled. Their mother, Dancille, immediately recognized that something was wrong with Theodette from birth. As she grew up, it became more obvious. She was not walking or developing at the same rate as her twin sister. Today, Theodette’s condition prevents her from standing or sitting upright. She is unable to control her lower legs and has mental incapacities. She moves around using her hands and knees, though she did receive a wheelchair from Love With Actions in 2017. She can speak, but not very well. When her father, Augustin, first saw his disabled child he went to his family and friends telling them that his wife was a prostitute because,“that child” could not be his. For the years following, Augustin beat and verbally attacked his wife.Neighbors also began to talk, saying that the devil lived inside of Theodette. No one seemed to care that she never received any medical attention. Her abusive father prevented her from leaving the home out of shame. In fact, Theodette has never gone outside of her family’s compound. Dancille reports that today, the older boy children protect her from her abusive husband.
Theodette began therapy at Rilima Hospital in 2018. Love With Actions expects she will undergo surgery and receive an ongoing treatment incorporating both medicine and physiotherapy. Additionally, LWA is providing health insurance coverage for the entire family. Dancille is very hopefully for the future. Her mood has improved substantially, as she no longer feels alone in her struggles at home. Dancille reports that she feels very close to the other women at LWA’s Community Center for Family Empowerment. She looks forward to growing the group’s small businesses of sewing and basket weaving.