PROMISE: Ann-Marie’s Story

I had lost all hope. Malnutrition almost took him!

I am called Ann-Marie Mujawurugo (53 years). I am married with 6 children and my last born is 10 years old. I am a resident of Ubwiza village in Ryamanyoni Cell of Murundi Sector, Kayonza District (Rwanda).

While I thought I was done with struggles of taking care of babies, it so happened that in 2018, a baby was dumped at my brothers’ house at night. The mother attributed the dumped baby boy (Moses Iratuzi) to my married brother who claims that the baby is not his.

When I visited my brother’s house which is some distance from my home, I saw the abandoned baby who was very sick with a swollen belly and skinny. I was concerned that the “step mother” completely ignored the baby and did not take care of him. Moved by compassion, I consulted my husband to take the baby up and good enough he encouraged to go ahead and bring the baby home. The Community Health Workers in my area asked me to take the baby for the growth monitoring organized by the ADRA PROMISE Project where the child was found to be severely malnourished. There and then, I was given a transfer to the Gahini District Referral Hospital where I spent 3 months yet without any improvement.

With all hope lost, I decided to leave the hospital having been convinced that the child would not live. I got home thinking that I had wasted my time and the child was going to die. Good enough, the project volunteers (leader mothers) got close to me and encouraged me to attend the Positive Deviance Hearth session that had been organized to rehabilitate malnourished children in our community. Although I did not have hope for his survival, I adhered to the advice. The boy who was about year old then was so sick that nobody wanted even to be close to him – it was scaring that many people discouraged from taking care of a baby that was abandoned by the mother and also rejected by his claimed father!

Ignoring all that, I attended the rehabilitation session and also started participating and attending the monthly cooking demonstrations organized by the project as encouraged by the project volunteers. Ever since, I have not missed any cooking demonstration session where we learn to take care of children for them to have good health.

I am so grateful to the PROMISE Project that the child who was so close to death is now very healthy, lovely and active like any other. I am thankful for the lessons I learnt through the Care Group that enable this child to be saved from an unnecessary death

Prepared by: Martin Rutazigwa, M&E officer