Ineza Alice is 42 years old, married and has five children: three sons aged 16, ten and seven and two girls aged 14 and three. Her three older children go to school. Her own highest level of education is Primary. She is married to a man (aged 79) who was married before and because of his age does not partake in paid work. Her husband has children from his previous marriage. So she is alone in taking care of the family and in earning a wage because her husband is too old.
She works in Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) as a replacement for her husband who cannot manage physical activities. For this she is paid a fixed amount by the government, and typically works seven hours a day. In addition she also works for neighbours on their farms where she earns extra money to cater for the family.
With regard to care activities at home she takes care of her children and her husband, washes clothes, digs in their small garden, fetches water, washes dishes, collects firewood and does the cooking. Her husband cannot support her in care activities as he is very old. When she is not around her daughter does the work of fetching water, collecting firewood, washing dishes, cooking and even taking care of their father with the help of her brothers. And she said,
“Unpaid work takes most of my time since I have to do all work at home and still take care of my children even their father which is hard for me. It’s really tiresome since most of the work is done at the time when my children are at school as well.”
She walks long distance to reach VUP sites so she wakes-up very early in the morning and returns home late in the evening, which means unpaid activities at home are heavily affected. She cannot stop doing paid work in VUP because it is the main source of living for the entire family. Her place of work does not offer any childcare facilities or a crèche. Consequently both children and her husband do not see her most of the day.
In terms of solutions, she would like VUP to change its payment system to daily or weekly instead of monthly payment. Additionally, she wants VUP to include family health insurance as part of the package given to its beneficiaries because the wage paid is not sufficient to pay health insurance especially for large families. She also wants NGOs, government and other development partners to help with livestock so that she can have access to milk and manure.