Aimable Twahirwa, Director General of Culture Promotion at the Ministry of Youth and Culture (MINIYOUTH) has urged young people to break silence on mental health issues because it is a path towards healing. He was speaking during the fourth edition of the Sharing Joy Conference organised by Mizero Care Organization, a local NGO that promotes health through psychotherapy services, on December 3. Twahirwa is aware that the number of youths with mental health issues, particularly depression, has increased, thus sees speaking out on the issue, approaching people to know whether they have a mental crisis as well as helping them to understand that they can heal when they play a part are important in tackling the issue. Youth should comfort and support each other, hence surpassing the effects caused by the history of our country. Above all, youth should stand up and work so that they can thrive hence developing our country, he said. Twahirwa also urged them to quit immoral behaviours such as consuming too much alcohol and taking drugs, asserting that they can instead save the money they spend on them to develop projects that help them to thrive. Restoring hope of the affected According to Pelagie Muhayimana, Programme Director of Mizero Care Organization, the organisation helps youth who face different mental health issues due to what they have passed through to regain hope by enrolling them in psychotherapy sessions and helping them to start small businesses. She declared that they see them throughout the entire process and ensure they are making progress. Muhayimana urged the Rwandan community to approach those with trauma caused by the Genocide Against the Tutsi for it shattered the hearts of many whose scars haven't healed yet as well as young people with intergenerational trauma. It'll take the Rwandan community to keep teaching Rwandans to love their country, live in unity while avoiding discrimination and work hard so that they do not get ruled into immoral practices that can slow down the development of the country, she said. Beneficiaries speak out As a child, at the end of the Genocide, Marie Jose Umuziranenge found herself in a situation where she had to take care of herself and her younger siblings. She said they lived a tough life although FARG (Genocide Survivors Support and Assistance Fund) would jump in to help along the way. After graduating from high school, she struggled to get a job and didn't have people to talk to and share with them how hopeless she was which worsened her trauma. She said that was before she met Mizero Care Organization. Umuziranenge explained that they enrolled her and others in different psychotherapy sessions before helping her to start a business to sell foodstuff which eventually resulted in a mini supermarket that helped her thrive. They rebuilt my hope and gave me a reason to stay alive, she concluded. Ramadhan Munyankuyo, a former drug addict was also helped by MoC after graduating from Iwawa Rehab center, still ashamed of who he was. These people approached us when we were held up by shame and told us that we could make a profit out of what we passed through, he said. They first gave us sessions on how one can understand their fellows which helped us to realise there were other people who were hurting even more than us. That helped us to defeat loneliness. Munyankuyo is currently the president of a cooperative named Ubuzima Bushya Iwacu which is consisted of 35 members including former drug addicts and prostitutes. He said they make furniture in Kacyiru Sector, Gasabo District, adding that they are compiling testimonies in a documentary film to be shared with the Rwandan community as part of their contribution towards changing people whose behaviours resemble theirs before getting hope. Everyone who consumes drugs has their own reason. Even when they quit, they feel ashamed of being called people who used to take drugs, but when they have people to help them build their hope, they use their testimonies to transform other drug consumers, thus helping themselves to heal, he said.