Ninety former vulnerable children have a chance to shape their own destiny after they graduated yesterday with various vocational skills, in Kigali.
The group graduated at Esther’s Aid Rwanda during its 11th graduation ceremony.
The students obtained certificates in various disciplines after completing 15 months training at the Esther’s Aid school.
The domains include culinary arts and hospitality, and design and sewing.
The ceremony was graced by representative of hotels, and partners of Esther’s Aid as well as friends and families of the graduates.
Speaking at the event, Clare Effiong, country mission director of the Esther’s Aid, said that they were honoured to celebrate the achievements of the young people who passionately followed the training and are now ready to make use the knowledge acquired to transform the hospitality industry in Rwanda and beyond.
“The graduates you see today started with little hope because of their bitter backgrounds and we are glad for their success today. We trained them professionally in areas highly needed at the labour market and we hope they are going out to excel and have a positive impact for their own wellbeing and the whole society in general”, she mentioned.
Violette Uwizeyimana, an orphan and one of the graduates, expressed her gratitude toward Ether’s Foundation that took her on and gave her free training at the time when she had lost hope.
“Now, with the hands-on skills I acquired at the Esther’s I think my life will no longer be the same because the knowledge we got from here cannot make you starve. I hope to start my own job,” she said.
Alumni from the past eleven graduations also attended the ceremony and shared their life changing stories.
They described where they were before Esther’s Aid and said their lives had transformed now due to the skills they received.
“I learned about Esther’s Aid when I was a house girl in the neighbourhood where the school was located. That time life was really harsh for me. I heard about how they take care of the needy and approached them. Clare received me well and was put on the culinary arts programme,” Jacqueline Mirembe, one of the school’s alumni recalled.
“Immediately after my graduation I was hired at Sports View Hotel where I worked for two years and later moved to Lemigo Hotel where I still work now. Also, apart from culinary work, I’m honoured to be working now as one the Esther’s Aid teachers.”
On behalf of Private Sector Federation, Alain Didier Muhizi welcomed the new graduates to the labour market and encouraged them to become entrepreneurs rather than job-seekers.
He also promised PSF support where they need it.
Esther’s Aid is a non-profit Christian-based, for Needy and Abandoned Children that began grass-roots operations in New Rochelle, New York in 1999 .
In Rwanda, it began in 2006 devoted to educating and training impoverished youth, young adults and women. The programmes they offer include Culinary Arts, Catering & Hospitality, Business Management, Computer Skills & Entrepreneurship, Sewing, and Fashion& Home Accessories.