The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, has asked women to be agents of change in their communities who aspire to improve living conditions in the country.
Mrs Kagame spoke yesterday in Gisagara District during the launch of activities to mark this year’s International Women Day on March 8.
The function was also an occasion to launch the Women and Girls’ Month—a one-month campaign to promote women’s rights in the country, celebrate their achievements and devise solutions to the challenges facing them.
It also served as an occasion to reward best performing school girls in a campaign that is championed by Imbuto Foundation.
Held for the 9th time, Imbuto’s annual Best Performing Girls campaign is set to recognise over 430 girls who excelled in last year’s primary and secondary school national examinations. On Saturday, 124 of them, from the southern province, received their awards which include scholastic materials, bags, laptops, ICT training and funds to create savings accounts.
More than 3,400 girls have been recognised for performing well since 2005 when Imbuto Foundation initiated its Promotion of Girls’ Education campaign.
Mrs Kagame told the girls that the initiative aims at recognising their efforts and encouraged them to always seek to be the best.
She said self-confidence, hard-work and relentless efforts will propel them to success and advised them to shun anything that might derail their efforts.
“Always think of yourself, who you want to be, where you want to be and what you are able to do,” the First Lady told girls.
“Work hard, keep making efforts to improve what you know. Increasing your knowledge and skills is a responsibility you have,” she said, promising continued support and guidance.
Mrs Kagame also encouraged girls to enrol in technical and vocational training, areas which have for long been considered as a ‘men-only’ field. She told girls that they have the capacity, ability and skills to perform well and said technical training offers unequalled opportunities.
‘Stimulus of growth’
Mrs Kagame also commended the government and its partners for efforts put in the promotion of the rights of girls and women in general and noted that the efforts have been very instrumental in transforming the lives of women throughout the country.
She encouraged them to continue making use of the current favourable environment to champion better lives.
“We want you to continue being a stimulus of growth and development by remaining innovative, embracing the teamwork spirit and expanding your activities in order to create more jobs for other members of your communities,” Mrs Kagame told women.
Citing a number of Rwandan sayings, which praise the role of women in the development of families and the country, the First Lady said that women have a major role to play in the transformation of the country.
She urged them to be hard-workers, innovators and agents of positive change within their communities.
To parents, the First Lady urged them to inculcate the real Rwandan values into their children as a way of building a strong and prosperous nation.
Rwanda has been celebrating Women Day since 1975 with the aim to push forward the empowerment of women. This year, the day will be marked under the theme: “Building on achievements and renewing commitments”.