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Living with Blindness in Rwanda

Living with Blindness in Rwanda

Access to education, finding a good job and being accepted in society is a struggle for thousands of blind people across Africa. Jean-Pierre Munyankiko and Venancie Mukanziza have managed to beat the odds.

Living with Blindness in Rwanda

Jean-Pierre Munyankiko and Venancie Mukanziza live in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. They are both blind. Apart from their physical disability, their lives are not very different from any other Rwandan couple. They are happily married and have two children.

"When I was born I was able to see,” Jean-Pierre Munyankiko told DW. “My parents said that I suffered from measles as a small child and later became blind“. The loss of his sight did not, however, stop Munyankiko from setting high goals. He wanted to study and take over responsibilities in his community.

Building a new life In a country that has few educational facilities for the visually impaired, Munyankiko had to move to south which boasted the only school for the blind. There he met Venancie Mukanziza. The couple married in 2002. They now have two children, aged seven and nine, who both have their eyesight.

Today the family is doing well. Munyankiko is a physiotherapist and his wife works for the Rwandan Education Board. They managed to buy a plot and build a house in the capital Kigali.

Their children attend one of the better schools in the country. "We live normal lives, while many other blind people have to live on the streets", Muyankiko says.

"We are lucky, because we have work.“

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