Adrolata struggles to put into words the love she feels for her children. She has worked as an SOS Children’s Villages mother at Gikongoro for 29 years and raised 53 children. She recently won the Helmut Kutin Award 2021 for going beyond her duties to make a lasting impact in the lives of children and young people.
Adrolata’s inspiration to care for vulnerable children came from her parents. They fed and clothed poor children in her neighborhood, which made her think about their lives. This passion drove Adrolata to adopt two children and dedicate her life to changing the lives of disadvantaged children.
During the tragedy of the genocide against Tutsis in 1994, Adrolata fled with the 10 children in her SOS family and exiled to neighboring DR Congo. “I decided to go with my children and keep them safe. We lived in difficult conditions and suffered together in a refugee camp. After four months, we returned home and I went on being their mother.” This tough experience made Adrolata a stronger and more resilient mother.
One child she raised was speech impaired from childhood. Adrolata cared for him and met his every need; he now has graduated from university and is a musician. “Children come to the village with no hope for the future but later on mature and find themselves. Watching my children grow up, study, overcome challenges to live independently and start their own families is my forever happiness.”
“I was raised in SOS Children’s Village Gikongoro because I was born when my mother had divorced. I was abandoned and got serious health issues such as speech impairment. I could not speak when I started nursery school in 1996. I was raised by Nikuze and am now joyful that I can now speak thanks to her. I started to speak when I was in primary 3. Nikuze has changed my life to the extent that I also compose songs,” Eric said.
Uwimana recalls how Nikuze cared for children in a refugee camp in difficult conditions.
“I have finished my University education in land surveying. I do part-time jobs in Chinese construction firms. I was also recently married this year. I am a man with dignity thanks to Nikuze.I am happy that she got a recognition award for her devotion to childcare. It is our pride as children she raised in the SOS family in Rwanda,” he said.
In 2007 Nikuze managed to trace Uwimana’s family.
“Nikuze traced my family and linked me to the relatives of my mother and my father in 2007,” he said.
Eric advises parents to care for all children including children with disabilities.