Take responsibility for the betterment of your communities, First Lady urges youth

First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame has challenged young people to take the lead in contributing positively to their communities, as this will lead to sustainable development.

Mrs Kagame said this to 681 student-recipients of Imbuto Foundation’s scholarships’ project ‘Edified Generation’ participating in their annual Holiday Camp at Groupe Scolaire Mater Dei - Nyanza District.

The three-day holiday camp aims at equipping the scholars with health and socio-economic knowledge to prepare them for their professional and personal well-being.

The Edified Generation project financially supports secondary school students from economically vulnerable backgrounds in their pursuit of education. It has so far supported over 8200 boys and girls.

“I challenge you to use the opportunities you have (in order) to be the agents of change you want to see in your communities,” the First Lady said.

“If you start with simple things like promoting hygiene around your homes,” she added, “ it will create a healthy society.”

According to the First Lady, students, as much as civil servants have, should take it upon themselves to fight high cases of drug abuse and teenage pregnancies among the youths, as it is equally important for the young advocates to play their role and take responsibility in reducing such cases.

Jean de la Croix Ntiruginama, 28, an orphan and one of the beneficiaries of Imbuto’s scholarship programme, noted that when his father died, he dropped out of primary school.

Ntiruginama, who hails from Rulindo District, settled as a housekeeper in Kigali.

Lucky enough his employee offered him the opportunity to complete primary school. He excelled and won the scholarship. He recently finished high school, majoring in Math, Economics and Computer at ES Kigoma.

“I partnered with my friend and we started the online newspaper www.kigalimonitor.com. We have also hired 15 young people with similar challenges,” Ntiruginama said.

He added, “had it not been for the opportunity Imbuto Foundation provided me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

In his remarks, Fodé Ndiaye, the UN Resident Coordinator urged young Rwandans to “take advantage” of the opportunities they have to build the future they want.

“The world is running fast. It’s up to you to run along – think big and be people of integrity.  The opportunities you have in Rwanda are hard to find anywhere else. Use them wisely,” Ndiaye said.

The Youth Minister, Rosemary Mbabazi, echoed his comments. She urged young people to take the lead in transformational leadership and inspire others to be responsible citizens.

“Don’t take the opportunities you have for granted. Many of your friends are taking drugs, and are engaged in sexual acts. Why can’t you go counsel them? You can do better than what your local leaders can do in this aspect,” Mbabazi said.

This year’s camp included conversations on sexual reproductive health; how to become an active citizen contributing to human security; and community service (Umuganda) teaching the scholars how to influence change and ensure the betterment of their environment.