GICUMBI - The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame through Imbuto Foundation yesterday rewarded the best performing students and exemplary foster parents in Gicumbi District, Northern Province.
While addressing hundreds that gathered for the 6th annual award ceremony, Mrs. Kagame thanked students of Groupe Scolaire Notre Dame du Bon Conseil in Gicumbi for their good performance stressing that they responded positively to the Ministry of Education’s call for hard work.
“Girls too have a responsibility to transform this country into a centre of knowledge and wealth so that people from which even other nations can benefit. There is no reason why girls cannot favourably compete with boys provided they have equal education opportunities,” encouraged the First Lady.
In relation to the good performance, Mrs Kagame thanked the government for spearheading girl-child education adding that the reason behind the annual awards is to encourage greater academic excellence in schools through persuading other students to perform better.
23 girls who passed with above 60 percent in the senior three and primary level were rewarded with bags, books, calculators, mathematical sets, pens, watches and pocket money worth Rwf20,000.
Two other students who excelled in the senior six exams, Gloria Kamaliza and Henriette Mutangampundu were rewarded with laptops and computer training sessions.
Despite the good academic excellence that most girls put up last year, Mrs. Kagame stressed that girls should be eager to penetrate the science field, pointing out that only six excelled in the science field out of the 15 girls that are set to be rewarded countrywide.
“Poverty can also be a constraint to education but all girls should struggle to be innovative and also venture into sciences as well. Understand that your achievements will help drive poverty out of your families thus development of the nation in general,” she said.
Under Imbuto Foundation’s Malayika Murinzi (Guardian Angel) programme, Marie Auriel Mukarusangwa and Mediatrice Uwamahoro were also rewarded with two cows as a result of showing remarkable compassion and selflessness by adopting and caring for vulnerable children.
“Taking care of a child just like your own does not require a lot of resources and these compatriots have shown us a clear example that it is possible. May these cows be useful to you and I hope that more people in your communities become Guardian Angels to other unprivileged children,” Mrs. Kagame added.
The Minister of Education, Daphrose Gahakwa, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Charles Murigande, United Nations Resident coordinator, Aurélien Agbénonci, Northern Province Governor, Emmy Bosenibamwe also attended the ceremony.
On behalf of the United Nations Children’s Fund, Dr. Jane Mwita also challenged the students not to sit back and reflect on these academic achievements but to struggle harder and excel so that they too can participate in various development strategies of the country.
Citing female parliamentary representation, Gahakwa advised the girls to always think of the sustainability aspect as they endeavour working hard.
“Good seeds produce good yields. It is therefore vital to work even harder so that you too can take up those parliamentary seats…you will not carry on those duties simply because you are women, you must work hard to get there,” she advised.
Since its inception in 2004, Imbuto Foundation, which operates under the Office of the First Lady, has rewarded over 2000 girls, countrywide.
According to officials, the next reward ceremony is due to take place on Sunday in Muhanga, Southern Province.