Giving a lease of life to an ‘idle’ youth

Early in 2010, Jean Damascene Simubara, along with his classmates at World Mission Secondary School in Gasabo District, started a club with the aim of “getting something to keep them busy while out of school.” They did not know that their brainchild would be more than just that.
Members of the World Mission Club led by Simubara (in kitenge and black hat) cheer up The New Times/ Courtesy.
Members of the World Mission Club led by Simubara (in kitenge and black hat) cheer up The New Times/ Courtesy.

Early in 2010, Jean Damascene Simubara, along with his classmates at World Mission Secondary School in Gasabo District, started a club with the aim of “getting something to keep them busy while out of school.” They did not know that their brainchild would be more than just that.

Supported by Never Again Rwanda (NAR), a local youth advocacy organisation, the group of young men and women have gone on to discover talents they never thought they had.

The World Mission Club is among the 78 clubs supported by NAR.

Every year, these clubs present entrepreneurial projects to NAR, of which the organisation picks out the best projects for funding.

Back in Kinyinya Sector, where Simubara hails from, he is considered not just a high school student but a skilled traditional dance, dramatist and actor.

Listening to his amazing journey will leave one wondering how the high school student planned such a big project on his own.

“Never Again Rwanda has made me a great thinker. It is all about their training and support to our club,” said Simubara, who is fond of a black hat that is almost synonymous with his presence. 

Simubara says World Mission Club is projecting the future and that in it, he sees a bright ray ahead. Because of the firm belief and vision for the club, he has tagged it with the inspirational motto: “Our club, our future.”

The NAR hand

 Never Again Rwanda has always taken great pride in training members of youth clubs that subscribe to their mission. The youths are trained to, among others, create jobs and entrepreneural skills.

It has not been any different with the members of Simubara’s World Mission Club.

After training the youths, the club was given a grant to start a small income-generating activity. They chose to rear goats.

The club grew to a community level with a total of 20 members, including students, elders and other local youth who later started a traditional dance group in Kagugu suburb.

Jean Bosco Ndayambaje, 24, joined the club in 2010. Today, he says he has bought a plot of land worth Rwf100,000 in Nyanza District and lives with faith that the income from the club will help him to build a house.

“This club is my future. I have faith that I will even build a house from here,” said Ndayambaje.

Angelique Niyomihigo, member of the club, says she joined the club for traditional dancing early this year and that since then, her life has completely changed.

“Every weekend, we perform at different ceremonies where I get paid Rwf8,000. This is enough for me as I am still a student,” she said

One of the policies of the club is to ensure that its members are free of evil minds and temptations. Since it operates like a family, the club has in its ‘house’ elders who play advisory role to the youths.

Michel Mugabo, 49, says he is not ashamed of being seen with his children dancing because “the youths are energetic while elders have experience. We are working in way of making this club a home for children.”

He said children have time to learn moral values and norms of a society.

During his recent visit to the club, NAR Deputy Programme Coordinator Tandiwe Ngwenya called on club members to invest in shaping their future.

“Today, Rwanda is for you, don’t waste your time in drugs and other evil acts. Whenever you want to reach you can’t do it without a culture; your culture is your identity as Rwandans” Ngwenya said.

She commended the achievement World Mission Club has registered and promised that Never Again Rwanda will continue working with them for to ensure that their dreams never falter.

There are more than 78 NAR youth clubs in secondary schools and universities across the country, and more than 22 Never Again Rwanda youth associations of non-schooling citizensi n the country.

The author is a journalism student at Mount Kenya University (Kigali Campus)

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