MASSACHUSETTS - Rwanda’s progress in human development was in the spotlight earlier this week at a ceremony which saw President Kagame and Mrs Kagame receive the US Fund for UNICEF Children’s Champion Award. The ceremony took place at a dinner hosted in their honour in Boston, Massachusetts for championing child rights in Rwanda.
The glamorous gala dinner held at the Massachusetts State House, was attended by 200 guests that included Governor Deval Patrick and Diane Patrick, as well as numerous friends of Rwanda from the Boston area and beyond.
“My wife and I are deeply humbled by the award presented to us tonight by the US Fund for UNICEF and accept this honour on behalf of the hardworking people of my country’’, said the President in his acceptance speech. The first family was especially recognised for their role in promoting child education.
“I thank you for your generosity in acknowledging our modest achievements in promoting the welfare of Rwanda’s children – as I believe we can all see, championing these children is one of the best things we can do for our country.”
Kagame spoke extensively on his government’s commitment to work diligently in building a united and prosperous country that relies on the participation and innovative efforts of all Rwandans. He said that improving the lives of Rwandan children has been central to Rwanda’s growth and development agenda.
“Progress in this regard includes reaching ninety-six percent enrolments for the first nine years of education, which is now tuition-free in Rwanda,” remarked the President.
He extolled UNICEF for its good partnership with Rwanda and added that the Child-Friendly School Model and provision of meals to pupils in schools, saying they were exemplary initiatives.
Kaia Miller, the board chair of the New England chapter of the US Fund for UNICEF which organised the event, told attendees that her involvement with Rwanda started 10 years and how each time she visits she is struck by the transformation underway in the country “ …as board chair of the New England chapter I am proud to know that UNICEF has been an effective partner in supporting Rwanda’s powerful vision for children”.
A highlight of the evening was a joint performance of the Boston Children’s Chorus with the Utunyange group, a Rwandan girls dance troupe that stole many hearts with an impressive performance at the April national commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Genocide.
The event was attended by the president of the US Fund for UNICEF, Caryl Stern, the Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick and First Lady Diane Patrick among others.
President Kagame has also received several awards in recognition for his leadership in peace building and reconciliation, development, good governance, promotion of human rights and women’s empowerment, and advancement of education and ICT.