At least 700 girls supported by Plan Rwanda, an international non-profit organisation, have been enrolled to undertake courses in different technical schools since last year.
This was disclosed during a ceremony to mark the International Girl’s Day, which took place last week in Kayonza District.
This year’s celebration was marked under the theme, ‘Innovating for Girls’ Education.’
The day seeks to raise awareness of girls’ rights and highlight gender inequalities.
Addressing Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) students, parents and local leaders, Katherine Nichol, a gender specialist with Plan Rwanda, said observing the day in Rwanda held more significance, because the country has over the years supported girls’ education.
“We are talking of thousands of girls already enrolled in TVETs, at least 700 have either ended or are still doing TVET courses. Plan Rwanda remains committed to support girls join the historically boys dominated fields,” she said.
TVET is a programme rolled out by government to provide the economy with a competitive and hands-on workforce.
Nichol said girls were encouraged to do courses that won’t make them job seekers anymore.
“As we celebrate the Day, we must remember that the TVET can transform gender relations. Pushing the girls into vocational education is indeed symbolic of a society in positive transition,” she said.
Beatrice Bamurigire, one of the graduates of TVET, moved the audience with a testimony of how she emerged as a successful plumber in her community, a trade that has historically been seen as a preserve of men.
Bamurigire said she succeeded despite the odds, noting that her community never wanted her to join a construction course.
“I have got a sad experience behind my success as a plumber. I was given all sorts of insulting names; my own relatives discouraged me from studying construction. They said it was against our culture for a girl to climb a house,” she said.
Bamurigire, who is employed in Kiramuruzi Sector as the only female plumber, said she is now envied by many.
“After completion of my studies at Amizero technical school in Kayonza, I was employed by the sector. In addition to the full time job, I have a number of other part-time jobs that supplement my income. People who were laughing at me yesterday, today they envy me,” she said.
Claudine Mutiyimana, another TVET graduate, however, said what keeps the girls a distance from full success after completion of their studies was lack of equipment.
“Technical work needs tools, start up kits. Most of us who were supported by Plan Rwanda came from a humble background that doesn’t allow us to buy tools to start doing the work. We need more support,” Mutiyimana said.