Muko, Musanze

Case study

Uzayisenga Marceline

Nine-year-old boy loses out on playing as he replaces his mother Marceline while she earns a livelihood
My son replaces me when I go to do farming for others. This happens because most of the work takes place far from home; thus I spend some hours away from home.

Marceline Uzayisenga is a 27-year-old woman who has three sons aged nine, seven and four. Her two older sons attend primary school. Her own highest level of education is Junior (lower secondary). She is no longer living with her husband since they divorced. She does farming activities on her farm and sometimes does it for her neighbours as paid work, typically working six hours per day. Besides this, she does care work such as cleaning the compound, washing clothes, cooking, fetching water, and taking care of for her children as well as the elders. 

When Marceline is doing paid work, her eldest son helps at home: he fetches water, collects firewood, cleans the compound and the house, takes care of the siblings and sometimes prepares food. She said, 

“My son replaces me when I go to do farming for others. This happens because most of the work takes place far from home; thus I spend some hours away from home.” 

The place where Marceline does paid work offers some childcare support.  

Marceline doesn’t generally have time to rest, she said, “In most cases I do not get enough time to rest since I am always busy with lots of care work at home”. In addition, combining care work and paid work makes her feel tired and interferes with her organisation. She said, “It is so tiresome. I am not able to do all the housework at home on the right time.” The money Marceline earns allows her to support her family by buying food and other basic things they need. She is able to negotiate with her employer the amount of money she is paid and the number of hours she works.  

Because of too much work, Marceline does not have enough time to raise her children as she would like. She said, “Less time is left for me to be with my children. This is a challenge to me; I miss them.” Also, care work is a challenge for her son. In this regard, she said,

“My son gets tired since he combines school and unpaid work at home. He does not get enough time to play with his friends due to some duties assigned to him.”  

In terms of solutions for Marceline, she feels getting support from her ex-husband would relieve the burden she has especially when taking care of, and providing for, her children. She also requests that the government provide improved seeds and fertilisers as well as the very basic infrastructure.  She also feels that government should provide her village with electricity, she said, 

“The government should bring electricity in our area. We request government to provide us with clean water in our village.” 

Marceline would also like her community to help take care of the children whilst she is doing paid work: feeding them when they are hungry and taking them to hospital if they are sick.  

About Uzayisenga Marceline

25-29
Issues: 
Children caring
Family/community support
Poverty
Outcome: 
Depleted