This is the story of Belancilla and Bernard living in Musanze District of Rwanda. However, the message it carries rings true for the millions of troubled households spread across the globe: When violence and dischord take root at the most intimate level within a family home, all else falls apart. Children drop out of school, livelihoods suffer, and life becomes misery.
As Eugene Rusanganwa explains, ‘Belancilla and Bernard were selected to participate in the TESF program under a project called “Women’s Empowerment to improve livelihoods”. However, domestic violence was a big issue in their family.’
By his own admission Bernard would arrive home drunk at night and beat his family. In time, their children dropped out of school and ended up on the street. The family’s farm also began to collapse.
However, despite these exceptionally hard times, relationship counseling and ongoing training is helping this family to chart a new path for themselves. Finding ways to, as Belancilla puts it, stop ‘constructing walls of separation’.
With brave honesty and openness the couple shares some of their journey, the lows, but also increasingly the highs as they slowly find their way back into harmony, collaboration, and mutual support.
While Belancilla and Bernard are just one couple among many receiving support within this TESF supported process, the message for Eugene is clear ‘Programming for livelihoods and education should tackle domestic violence first to be effective.’
Reflecting on the process of making the film, Eugene said ‘It was such an interesting experience to make a film using my mobile phone – I could not believe it until I reached the final version of my film. I was touched when participants were excited to share their stories.’
Eugene’s film speaks to educators at all levels and is a must watch for those interested in tackling the deeper issues that so often sit behind learner difficulties in the classroom.
This post was written by Luke Meterlerkamp, Digital Weavers https://www.thedigitalweavers.com/.