Growing up in Rwanda: A photo essay
Most six-year-olds in Cyete, Rwanda, eat once a day and cannot yet read and write. Enathe describes what sets apart her extraordinary daughter, who is blossoming in a household that despite being materially poor, is full of warmth, hope and faith.
"My name is Mukaserire Enathe. I have four daughters."
"Antoinette is the youngest. She is six years old."
"She goes to the nursery classes at Cyete school. A local church organisation helped me pay the fees to send her there."
"You see, we have very little. I work for others as a labourer. I can earn 1,000RWF (£1) per day.
"I also work on our own small plot where we have some crops – beans, maize, sweet potatoes and banana. But the amounts are too little to sell – it is for the family. Here in our family we eat once a day, in the evening."
"I was married but my husband left the family when I was pregnant with Antoinette.
"He has since remarried another woman in this area who is very rich, but we do not see him. Antoinette has never known her father."
"She is very happy. She is in school. The life of Antoinette is very great."
"Since VSO volunteers at Cyete helped us to start school feeding, I have been working at the school cooking the food. All the parents contribute a small amount to pay me"
"Now that I have this income I am able to pay health insurance for the whole family. I pay my husband’s too – we are still married in law and the insurance must cover all the family members."
"I pray for my daughters that they all go to school and finish their studies, and that they can find good jobs."
"I have good hopes for Antoinette. She is the first of my children to go to these nursery classes – I think this makes her advanced.
"You can see: she is more adventurous. She is bright and intelligent, more than others."
"I am very proud. She will have many chances in the future. She could even be a doctor. That is her wish."
"What it is in my power to do to help her, I will do. The rest is for God to decide."
Antoinette's school is supported by VSO and its volunteers through the Enhancing the Quality of Early Childhood Education in Rwanda (EQUECER) project.