Global Grassroots 2011 Year-End Magazine - Page 25

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Global Grassroots 2011

Conflict over lack of water at home was the most common trigger of domestic violence. “We noticed that women were facing big problems related to the scarcity of water,” says Jeanette. “That’s when we gathered together and created this team, Have a Good Life.” As the team continued to talk about the water issue, their ranks increased. Eventually, Have a Good Life grew to twenty-five members.

Jeanette is now an integral part of the Have a Good Life, family, too. As treasurer, she attends every meeting; they are usually for thirty minutes at 5pm. She and her team have brought safe, accessible water to their community, which has reduced the cases of violence faced by women.

They also do educational outreach on topics such as good sanitation and water safety, and the team checks in with individual families about their health and hygiene. “Hygiene in this community is now at a great level. Women are no longer being abused,” Jeanette says. “Some women come to tell us how water -access has changed their lives.” One of the women who testified – Sylvie – told Jeanette this story: “Thank you for bringing water, because I’m no longer beaten by my husband. My children are going to school on time. I used to be raped when I went to the water access point to fetch water, but now I am no longer. I also used to send someone to get water. Then he would come back home and have sex with me. That way my husband wouldn’t beat me when he came home and found that there was no water and the food was not yet cooked.”

Jeanette’s work with Have a Good Life has made her role within her Nyarugenge neighborhood an even deeper and more essential one. She likes to share Have a Good Life’s

mission and work with the people who meet in the marketplace, so that all women will be aware of the team and what they are doing. She feels comfortable seeking partnerships anywhere, and others are comfortable coming to her with any problem.

Jeanette says the training she received from Global Grassroots has taught her to “think big.” “Now, I can go somewhere and knock and ask for a grant or anything. Apart from that, in my own community, I have become a conflict resolver. If in the neighborhood there is a conflict, women come to me – they trust me. I go with them to solve those conflicts. It helps me to change the quality of life in my community.”

It takes an enormous heart to give so much to so many families: her neighborhood; her community at the marketplace; the Have a Good Life team; her own parents and siblings and husband and children. But Jeanette has enough love – enough compassion and drive – to change every corner of her world for the better.

When asked to describe her four children, Jeanette paints a picture that porrays her own vision of an ideal world. “They are never separated. They are very close to each other. When they come from school, they take one another on the shoulders. The people who see them think, “Oh, these children are so loving. They love one another very much.”

This vision of love and entanglement is a reality in Jeanette’s immediate family. But it is also, step by step, part of the reality of her other families: her community, her team, her neighborhood. There is much to be proud of, Jeanette.