June 17, 2024

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Meet Munyana Sauda whose Life Transformed through Massage Therapy

Munyana Sauda, a 26-year-old woman from Kicukiro District in Rwanda, was born blind. Despite facing significant challenges due to her visual impairment, Munyana found success through the art of massage therapy. Her journey began with a project entitled “Improving Employability and Vocational Training Capacity of the Blind and Partially Sighted Persons in Rwanda,” implemented by the Rwanda Ophthalmic Clinical Officers and Cataract Surgeons Society (ROCOCS) in coalition with Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) with support from the UNDP. Through this project, Munyana acquired a new skill that not only transformed her life but also inspired many others.

Munyana recalls her journey towards becoming a massage therapist: “Through the Masaka Resource Center for the Blind (MRCB), a center of RUB, I was trained on   massage therapy from August to November in 2023. Before acquiring this skill, I struggled to get employment but later found hope and purpose through the training. Thanks to the skills I gained, I now earns a living through massage therapy’’. Munyana said

Reflecting on the impact of her newfound career, Munyana shares, “In terms of money and economy, I wouldn’t say it’s enough, but I can handle the basics needs as a girl.” Despite the usual challenge a blind person, she finds fulfillment in being able to support herself and others through her expertise.

The support provided by the project through a three- month training on Massage Therapy was instrumental in Munyana’s success. She emphasizes, “They didn’t ask me for school fees which I could not afford on my own. I worked hard in what I was being trained on, and I took what I learned out into real life, and it is helping me in many ways.”

Looking towards the future, Munyana hopes to inspire employers to trust the abilities and skills of persons with visual impairments. She states, “The key message I want to give is that people should change their perception and understand that a blind person is capable of doing it like others…they can trust us, they should give us employment opportunities.”

Through her perseverance and dedication, Munyana has not only transformed her own life but also serves as a beacon of hope for others facing similar challenges. “I highly encourage persons with visual impairments to pursue their dreams and prove their capabilities to the Rwandan Community”.

At MRCB, a range of programmes are offered to empower persons with visual impairments which include massage therapy, Rehabilitation and Knitting.

The UNDP funded project closes with very inspiring stories from graduates in massage therapy who are committed to starting their own businesses or seeking employment in various institutions such as hotels. However, challenges remain, such as the lack of start-up toolkits and the mindset of employers who doubt the capabilities of persons with visual impairments entering the job market after completing their training on massage.

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