A group of young environmentalists in Musanze District have raised Rwf600,000 to support teen mothers in the district during the current COVID-19 lockdown.
Through their association, dubbed Muhisimbi Voice of Youth in Conservation, the environmentalists used the cash to buy 500 kilogrammes of porridge flour and soaps, which was distributed to 90 teen mothers from around National Volcano Park.
The donation was handed over to the beneficiaries on Sunday at Kinigi Sector premises.
Teen mothers, who are also school dropouts, are some of the vulnerable to economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Emmanuel Harelimana, the association president, said they had been inspired by the government's call to help the most severely vulnerable members of society to cope with the economic consequences of COVID-19.
"We have realised that the teen mothers from around Volcano National Park notably in Kinigi Sector were being hit by the lockdown as they were no longer working and resolved that everyone should contribute according to their ability," he said. "This was just a beginning, our ambition is to reach out to teen mothers from across the country during this lockdown as we have realised that they hardly coping with these difficult moments,"
Muhisimbi Voice of Youth in Conservation is made up of a total of 22 members.
To make their ambition a reality, Harelimana said, their association secured some additional funds from Momentum Foundation - Switzerland-based well-wishers whom they partner in their day-to-day conservation endeavours.
The teen mothers underscored that the donation was timely given the hardships they were going through due to the lockdown.
"Previously, one would put food on table after getting daily wages from various activities that are so far no more due to the lockdown and our babies were prime victims (... ), the donation that we are given is timely," noted Stephanie Mukamana, one of the teen mothers
Kinigi Sector Executive Secretary, Innocent Twagirimana, welcomed the development saying, "It significantly contributed towards the welfare of the teen mothers and their babies as they are considered among most members of the society who are hardly coping with the lockdown,"
It comes at the time the calls to show greater solidarity with each other have gained momentum.
The Local Government Minister, Prof Anastase Shyaka, has recently appealed for joint efforts towards supporting the most vulnerable members of the society affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.