Rose Kamikazi is 31 years old, and lives in Muko sector, Muzanze District, Rwanda with her husband (aged 38) and three daughters, who are aged 12, 6 and under one. Her eldest daughter attends Primary school. Rose’s own highest level of education is lower Secondary. Her husband, Habimana Juma, is a security guard and works night shifts. He is normally at home during the day and sometimes helps Rose with care activities.
Rose participates in the ActionAid-supported women’s economic empowerment (WEE) programme ‘Food Security and Economic Empowerment’. The programme supports her and her colleagues with agriculture farming technologies, post-harvest management and market linkages. She walks just over two hours to reach the location where she works, and typically works for six hours per day. Being a member of WEE she is able to support her family: ‘I can support my family in different ways like buying food and other goods needed at home. I have also opened an account and [am] able to save some money.’ Besides being a member of WEE, Rose participates in other income-generating activities: ‘As I am self-employed, I sell local beer, do farming for others. I also do farming on my own land and sell the surplus to the market.’
Rose does a lot of care work and also takes care of her elders who live in a separate home. Her sister supports her with fetching water, collecting firewood, cleaning, cooking, and providing care for Rose’s children. Habimana Juma helps Rose to make and sell beer, especially in the evening when he is around, and can help take care of the children. Rose’s place of work does not provide any childcare provision or a crèche, and there is no public service provision such as access to water or electricity. Despite the support she receives from her sister and husband, Rose is often affected by too much care work. She says, ‘it is true unpaid work affects me since most of the time I do not get enough time to rest.’ For her, doing care work is a traditional duty for women, and she adds, ‘women in our culture are the ones who are responsible for doing all housework.’
Rose combines both paid and care work, and consequently does not have enough time to do all of the care work, especially taking care of her children. Her household members share the care work responsibilities, and have no problem with doing this. On the other hand, the family is proud that Rose does paid work, and her eldest daughter says,
‘I feel well when my mother is doing paid work since I know that when she gets money, she can provide us with whatever we need at home’.
It is obvious that Rose does not have enough time to take care of her children, and she says that ‘they [children] do not get me when they need me since I am always busy with paid and care work which may not necessarily mean that I am with them all the time.’ She also feels tired and cannot do all the housework at the right time. Additionally, she feels that her daughter is affected by combining care work and school.
Rose would like her family to continue to help her with unpaid work so that she can easily balance paid and unpaid work. Furthermore, she would like her community to help take care of her children when she is not at home. She also feels that if Child Development Centres were available in her area, this could help with childcare.