1,678 youths Friday completed a year-long course at Iwawa Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Centre on Iwawa Island, Lake Kivu in Rutsiro District.
The school caters for street children, drug addicts and other social misfits. It is run by the National Rehabilitation Services (NRS).
The latest batch of graduates pursued rehabilitation programmes and vocational training in four trades: construction, carpentry, tailoring and agriculture.
Nicolas Niyongabo, Coordinator of the centre, said that the beneficiaries joined the centre when they were mostly addicted to various kinds of drugs, especially cannabis. He noted that after a year at the centre the former drug addicts were not only weaned off, but also significantly rehabilitated.
Francis Uwimana better known as 'Fireman', a renowned HipHop artist is among former drug addicts who graduated from Iwawa Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Centre on Friday. Régis Umurengezi
He went on to say that among the graduates were 370 married men who have about 800 children between them.
Jackson Kayinamura, former drug addict, narrated how he quit his university studies as a result of drug abuse.
“I became addicted to drugs when I was in senior two. At the time, it was due to peer pressure but the vice held me in bondage for almost eight years until I dropped out of university when I was in third year,” he noted regretably but assured that he leaves the centre a transformed man.
Kayinamura, who spoke on behalf of the graduates, assured that they would strive to contribute to national progress in their day-to-day endeavours upon their integration into the community.
“We will particularly initiate anti-drug clubs in our respective areas of residence so as to curb drug abuse among young people,” he promised.
The NRS director general, Aimé Bosenibamwe, said the government spends Rw80 million on the rehabilitation centre every month.
“The Government has already approved Rwf248 million to support your integration process, now as I speak Rwf200 million is available,” he said.
Bosenibamwe revealed that, by February 2020, the centre will have introduced what he called ‘Delinquent Tracking System’ to ease and facilitate the integration process of former delinquents.
The Governor of Western Province, Alphonse Munyentwari, urged the graduates to strive for a brighter future by putting to good use the knowledge and skills they had acquired and incentives that the Government offers to them.
He also challenged grassroots leaders to ensure the former delinquents are successfully reintegrated in their communities.
Iwawa Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Centre has handled over 19,000 former drug addicts in its last 19 intakes.