Chinese embassy boosts Imbuto Foundation education initiative

Sandrine Umutoni shakes hands with Amb. Rao Hongwei at the Chinese Embassy in Kigali yesterday. Courtesy.

The Chinese Embassy in Rwanda has provided Imbuto Foundation with scholarships for 99 academically brilliant children from vulnerable backgrounds.

The youngsters to be sponsored are part of the ‘Edified Generation,’ a scholarship programme initiated by Imbuto Foundation in 2003 to financially support bright students from economically vulnerable backgrounds in their pursuit of education.

The support is worth $29,105 (approximately Rwf26.2m), and the scholarships for high school are valid for one year until end of 2020.

The beneficiaries are the same students sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in 2018 under the same initiative, excluding those who have since then graduated from secondary school.

Beneficiaries of this programme receive assistance of up to $300 a year, to help pay for their living costs in boarding schools, school uniforms, and other items.

Further, each year, through an annual holiday camp, the scholars are equipped with entrepreneurship, public speaking, leadership and other life skills, among many topics.

The support is part of China-Africa People to People Friendship Action, a framework under which the embassy of China in Rwanda has been providing scholarships to about 100 academically proficient but economically disadvantaged secondary students every year since 2013.

The China-Africa People-to-People Friendship Action is an initiative by the Chinese government designed to support and promote exchanges and cooperation between non-governmental organisations, women, and youth from China and Africa.

Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, Rao Hongwei, the ambassador of China to Rwanda, said the embassy was “more than happy” to be associated with Imbuto Foundation, through the latter’s programmes.

“We find your activities very effective and efficient. So we will continue to support your Foundation and hope you will achieve more results for the benefit of Rwandan people, especially the youth,” he said.

Sandrine Umutoni, the Director General of Imbuto Foundation, commended the embassy’s support towards empowering Rwandan society.

Noting that the largest portion of the country’s population is made up of young people, Umutoni highlighted the necessity to make sure that the youth are given “the right tools,” of which the most important is education.

“Beneficiaries of this scholarship programme have actually taken it upon themselves to give back to the programme. Those who graduated a few years ago actually sponsor other students as well,” she said.

“So it really shows that you are not only empowering those you sponsor, but also the others that are coming after them.”

Imbuto Foundation is an initiative of First Lady Jeannette Kagame and runs different programmes in health, education, youth and economic empowerment.