For more than two decades, Christine Mukarukwaya has been working to support women needing legal assistance. She volunteers at Haguruka, a non-governmental organisation that fights the rights of women and children. Christine offers legal support to women in Rwanda and meets many victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence.
At Haguruka, one of the key aspects that is focused on is ending violence and providing safe spaces where people get a chance to be listened to, as well as an opportunity to receive legal aid from lawyers and counsellors. From their head office in the capital Kigali, they coordinate a network of over 400 paralegals who are located all across the country.
Christine Mukarukwaya is one of the legal counsellors volunteering for Haguruka and has worked at the organisation for more than 20 years. Her path to becoming a legal counsellor started through her work for the government where she had a leading role in charge of social affairs.
“In 2001, Haguruka was looking for women who would be able to give trainings to other women. When I was asked, they specifically wanted someone giving trainings on legal rights,” says Christine.
Christine often meets women who have experienced sexual or domestic abuse. She believes that the widespread violence is due to poverty and that many conflicts start when discussing assets within the family.
“Women are facing many different challenges in Rwanda. We meet women who have been abused and women in the process of divorce without the financial ability to pay for a lawyer. If a woman has been beaten by her husband, we first go to the village leader to find out the cause of the problem and then we contact the Rwanda Investigation Bureau. If we’re unable to find a solution, we ask for support from Haguruka who help them get in contact with a lawyer and further support,” says Christine.
When Haguruka first approached Christine, she loved their mission and wanted to be a part of what the organisation wanted to achieve. For her, the most important result since joining has been witnessing the positive impact she’s had on the people she’s been able to assist.
“I have a lot of love and see myself as an empathetic person, everytime someone comes to me with their problem I make it my problem and feel like I should help them. And now, many people are free and appreciate my work,” she says.
Kvinna till Kvinna has supported women’s rights in Rwanda since 2017. One of our partner organisations is Haguruka. Haguruka focuses on ending violence and provide a safe, confidential spaces where citizens will be listened to and given legal support by lawyers and counsellors. Read more about our work in Rwanda »