Ashoka, a global organisation that invests in leading individuals with innovative and practical ideas to solve social problems on Saturday, launched the youth Venture programme aimed at detecting talents in Rwandan schools to enable them become agents of change in the community.
The programme, that targets young people aged between 12 and 22, aims at making them social entrepreneurs in the future as well as equipping them with skills needed by employers.
Speaking at the launch of the programme in Kigali, Vincent Otieno Odhiambo, Programme Director of Youth Years at Ashoka East Africa, said: “Schools should provide students with the opportunity to grow into change makers as a critical part of learning.”
He said change making requires four critical skills namely; empathy, teamwork, leadership and entrepreneurship.
Félicité Rwemarika, the founder and president of Akwos, an association that empowers women through sports, said Ashoka targets those children who have exceptional talents but fail to develop them because of lack of exposure.
She said Ashoka will work with schools to identify such children and help them accordingly.
“We realised that children spend most of their time at school. We, therefore, want to empower teachers to monitor and nurture their talents so that they contribute toward the development of their country,” she said, adding that the teachers will work closely with specially trained mentors.
Brother Aloys Bimenyimana, the Principal of Saint Joseph Integrated Technical College, Nyamirambo, said the programme will help shape the students’ future.
He said they are planning to integrate the programme into their pedagogy by forming talent development clubs and dedicating the last five minutes after each lesson to career guidance.
Aimerine Gazelle Mutoni, 14, a P6 student at Intwari Primary School in Nyamirambo, said the programme will help her nurture her aspiration to become a pediatrician.
“I want to be a doctor so as to treat children with chronic diseases,” said the teenager, adding that the programme will help her understand what is required of her in order to realise her dream.
The programme was launched in some schools in the City of Kigali, including Camp Kigali, Ecole Secondaire Islamique Nyamirambo, Saint André, Muhazi Technical School, Groupe Scolaire Cyahafi and Saint Joseph Integrated Technical College.
So far, 100 mentors have been trained within two months and are going to work with schools to offer skills development support to students.
Ashoka partners with various organisations in 54 countries across the world.