The festive season should be a joyous time for everyone; sharing warm moments with families through the festive Christmas mass, carols and the New Year countdown. However, every year, children with disabilities might feel an impression of abandonment since their condition does not allow them to properly celebrate Christmas and New Year. On Friday, December 20th, 2019, Kigali Serena Hotel hosted children living with disabilities from ‘Izere Mubyeyi’ Center located in Busanza Sector, Kanombe District.
Erick Mugesera, Kigali Serena Hotel Human Resources Manager says that the Hotel is not just about accommodation or restaurants but that the management puts forth supporting vulnerable communities. “Christmas is a season of goodwill but it can be very tough for many people including those living with disabilities and their families. In aiming for simple inclusion, we organize a Christmas party every year to celebrate with vulnerable communities in our society. We hope to transform the lives of people over the holiday season.”
Mukashyaka Agnes founded IZERE MUBYEYI center in 2006. She also has a disabled child. The center runs on donations from institutions across Rwanda and abroad and, she says, it strives to ensure all children with disabilities have reasonable and equal access to facilities.
”Children with disabilities do not have the luxury of experiencing families get together, the lights, the decorations, presents under the tree, and the wonderful Christmas feast most people anticipate all year long. Simple, unexpected acts of kindness can brighten up the lives of children with disabilities. It makes a massive difference to know that someone is thinking about you.” She adds that in the consumer craze of Christmas, most people tend to forget about vulnerable people around them and so Kigali Serena Hotel comes out to underscore the importance of the festive season in extending unconditional love and hope.
During the party, children shared a meal with Serena Hotel management, played games, received gifts and entertainment from Santa.
Izere Mubyeyi Center offers basic but essential therapy and education for a hundred and twenty children and youth with disabilities between 6 and 27 years of age. They also provide vital support for parents and hires mental health experts including speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and dietitians. Currently, over eighty children are registered for Cerebral Palsy physiotherapy at the center.