One year ago after returning from the market, Zawadi found everything in their house was gone. Initially, Zawadi thought they were robbed until her husband Jean-Claude didn’t come home that night. Zawadi learned he had sold everything and she was left with nothing. This is when life became very difficult.
When Zawadi could not afford rent or food, she moved to Murara in search of cheaper housing. She currently rents three small rooms in a half-built house for 2,000 RWF (about $2) a month. Zawadi constantly worries for her children’s safety; the windows and doors are without glass making it easy for someone to break in. The roof has many holes, the walls are missing bricks and when it rains the family gets wet.
Fortunately, Zawadi is still in possession of the land she owned with her husband. Rwanda law prohibits a husband from selling family land if the wife’s name is written on the paper. Zawadi looks for work every day but only successfully finds a job about three days a week. Sometimes she walks into the town of Gisenyi where she will washe other people’s clothes for 1,000 RWF (about $1); while other times she cultivates people’s land for 800 RWF (just 80 cents) a day.
When I first heard Zawadi’s story, I was furious for her. I thought about how awful it was for someone to not only abandon their wife and three children, but to vanish with all of their personal belongings as well, left a pit in my stomach. How could someone do that? As I heard more of Zawadi’s story I was inspired by her community coming together to find her family shelter. In the United States we lead very privileged lives. We take for granted the smallest luxuries like having glass on our windows and roofs over the structures we live in. Things can be hard here as well, of course, but our doors lock, our windows close and we don’t feel the rain while sleeping at night. These are basic human rights Zawadi and her two boys do not have access to.
With your support I would like to help Zawadi build a home for her family. Zawadi like all hardworking single mothers everywhere, deserves the chance to live in a safe home that no one can take away from her. As a woman and fellow human I have empathy for Zawadi’s family and I want to provide them a renewed sense of hope. Zawadi’s resilience is admirable and inspirational. It is a reminder that even when we are left with nothing, we can still fight and work hard for the people we love, so that tomorrow will be a better day.
Please help me build Zawadi, Irasubiza (age 5), Niyonkuru (age 4) and Niyigena (age 3) a home.
All My Love, Alex