KIGALI - First Lady, Jeannette Kagame yesterday called upon the youth to utilize the available education opportunities to acquire knowledge that will enable them contribute significantly to national development.
Mrs. Kagame made the call in her capacity as the Patron of Imbuto Foundation during the launch of the Youth Forum Series 7 – a platform for significant debate and dialogue through which students are empowered to become better citizens.
The event was held at Saint Andre College in Nyamirambo, a Kigali suburb.
While addressing 1000 youths from secondary schools, the First Lady highlighted that many students still drop out of school due to various reasons however efforts are being made to ensure that they get back to school so such opportunities should be utilized effectively.
“Our nation took a strong stand towards promoting education because we believe that it is the greatest investment that can bear lasting returns. Together with other Rwandans and partners, we do whatever it takes to educate our youth knowing that you are the country’s strength.
“You must therefore use this opportunity to the best of your abilities and reward us with good grades. Opportunity knocks once at every person’s door and this is your chance to acquire knowledge and play your role in national development,” Mrs. Kagame advised.
Under the theme “Educate, Engage and Empower,” the First Lady also highlighted that besides school education, students need parental guidance in various issues of life, the reason why such forums are held from time to time.
According to a statement from the Foundation, students discussed issues concerning constructive citizenship, children rights and financial responsibilities, reproductive health, drugs, sex and alcohol among others.
The Minister of Education, Charles Murigande, also commended Imbuto Foundation for creating such forums where youth brainstorm and share experiences on vital issues in life.
He also emphasized that the students must have a purpose to learn and rid themselves of laziness and mediocrity.
“Make it a point to benefit from these positive values that you share here and you will be changed citizens with a clear vision and objective in life. It is not aptitude that determines attitude but rather our behaviour that determines how far we can reach in life”.
Murigande also emphasized that youth should exhibit a sense of excellence in everything they do so they can be smart generations that will lead Rwanda to prosperity.
“We are raising leaders who will not take us back to the days of bloodshed and discrimination, but leaders who will take our nation further as regards development and unity. Always aspire to inspire before you expire,” he strongly added. Officials noted that all the youth who participated in the forum are beneficiaries of Imbuto Foundation’s education scholarships.
“I am an orphan who was selected for these scholarships. I had no hope for continuing with schoo,l but the Foundation gave me a grand opportunity and one day I will significantly contribute to my country’s growth,” said Marguerite Ndacyayisenga, a student from Appec Rukomo.
The youth forums aim at challenging students to strive for excellence, against all odds and encourage positive values to contribute to their success.
It is also a platform for strengthening the scholarship program by highlighting the responsibilities of students and those of the Foundation.