Finally, A Happy Ending She Deserves

Friday 19 February 2021

Chance*, 9, rwanda

·       Feburonie – 45, Female, Stepmother

*Name was changed to protect identity


Story summary:

In 2005, Daphrose departed Burundi in pursuit of economic opportunity across the border.  After arriving in Rwanda, Daphrose met and fell in love with a man named Vincent. Although he was legally married, Daphrose and Vincent began to live as husband and wife in 2006 and welcomed a daughter, Chance, in 2011.  

During this time, a severe drought was impacting the livelihoods of agricultural communities, especially near Akagera.  In 2015, as Burundian refugees were flocking to Rwanda and other countries in the region, Daphrose was struck by financial insecurity that she took Chance, moved into Mahama Camp, and registered them both as refugees. 

Chance’s father, who still lived in the host community, was struggling to make ends meet. In his desperation, Vincent unlawfully entered Kimisi Game Reserve in Tanzania on the banks of Akagera River and died in a hunting accident.

In 2016, Daphrose fell ill and succumbed to her sickness after being hospitalized. Now an orphan, Chance required Save the Children’s intervention more than ever. Chance, then 5, did not have relatives in Mahama Camp.   

Save the Children placed Chance in a safe, loving home. Captorine, a mother of three, took care of Chance as her foster mother. They lived happily as a family for several years until Captorine decided she wanted to repatriate.

Chance, born in Eastern Province, is registered in Rwanda’s civil status. Without known biological family in Burundi, Chance’s situation was complicated. A case conference brought together UNHCR, the Ministry of Emergency Management and Save the Children. In resolution, the panel agreed to trace Chance’s stepmother and step siblings in Rwanda and reunite them.

Save the Children traced Chance’s family and located them in Kirehe District. After being approached by a Child Protection Case Worker, Feburonie, 45, agreed to take in Chance and be her stepmother.

With the support of local leaders and Inshuti z’Umuryango (“Friends of Family”), Save the Children reunited the family on January 26, 2021.

She is my husband’s blood, so she is mine too. I will raise her together with her brothers and sister, and whatever we find, we will share,” affirmed Feburonie, 45, Chance’s stepmother.

“I knew Chance when she was born in Nyarubuye Sector. It is a sector near us, and I knew she is my husband’s daughter. I did not know her mother until she was married to my late husband. I did not have any issues with my sister wife, apart from when they married. It has been a while since my husband left us, and when they married, he left to live with them.” clarified Feburonie.

Additional interviews:

“This family loves children. Recently they adopted two children and that is why they did not hesitate to welcome Chance who is their husband’s blood. I can assure you that this child is in good hands, they have a welcoming heart for children,” vouched the Village Leader.

“We always make sure that children with protection concerns are thoroughly followed up on. We will do whatever possible to advocate for this child at cell level and other levels for her wellbeing,” confirmed the Inshuti z’Umuryango Cell Coordinator.  

Background / Project information

Since 2015, Save the Children has strived to protect and keep safe more than 31,000 children in Mahama Camp. In collaboration with UNHCR and MINEMA, Save the Children traces families and reunites them with their children in Rwanda and Burundi.