Abayisenga Dancile is a 46-year-old woman who lives in Mbazi sector, Huye District, Rwanda. She lives with her husband, Bisengimana Innocent (51 years old), and five children: four boys (18, 16, 14 and 3 years old) and one daughter (10 years old). The four eldest children attend school. Abayisenga herself did not attend formal education except for short-term training on tailoring which was conducted by her local church. Her husband, Bisengimana Innocent is a construction worker.
Abayisenga mainly works as a tailor at the main trading centre in the sector, which is a 15-minute walk from her house. She also does seasonal work on her household’s farm. As there are no childcare facilities in the village, she takes her youngest son with her to work. Abayisenga does not participate in any non-governmental organisation programmes that are designed to increase women’s economic empowerment. She explains that the income earned by her and her husband helps them to buy salt, food, and clothes for themselves and their children. However, she claims that their joint income is insufficient to cater for all their needs.
Abayisenga does all of the unpaid care work for the household, which takes up most of her time, such as the cooking, fetching water, searching for fodder for the domestic animals, collecting firewood when the children are not around, washing clothes, digging their garden, cleaning the house and the compound, and taking care of the children, especially the youngest one who goes wherever she goes. The only support she receives is from her children. In fact, when the children get back from school, they help her to fetch water, collect firewood, feed livestock, and clean the house. There is water provision in the village, and electricity is available too, but her house is not connected to the electricity. Her husband helps to get what the family needs but he does not do any care work.
Combining paid work and care work seems to be tiring for Abayisenga. In fact, she becomes over-tired because there is not sufficient time for her to rest. In addition, sometimes she does not find enough time to take care of her children, and she says,
It is difficult to combine care work and paid work. You go to work for money and you leave no one at home. Because children are at school, no one will provide food for them since my husband and I are not home yet.
She finds it extremely difficult to combine both paid and unpaid work, and feels constantly overwhelmed: