The First Lady and Chairperson of Imbuto Foundation, Jeannette Kagame has urged Rwandans to join efforts in ensuring that even the most vulnerable children in the country’s communities complete secondary education.
Mrs Kagame said this while addressing over 2,000 youth who convened at Amahoro Petit Stade in Remera, yesterday, to mark 15 years of Imbuto Foundation’s scholarship programme in a youth forum themed “Edified Generation”.
The forum was held under Imbuto’s Youth Forum Series, which began in 2007, focusing in activities that have been organised on a national scale, to fully engage, educate and empower young people.
This weekend’s forum, themed, “Edified Generation”, focused on the importance of giving back to one’s community, leveraging networks, and the continued empowerment of Rwanda’s youth.
The gathering brought together over 2,000 participants, with the majority being students and alumni of Imbuto Foundation’s scholarship programme, aged 14 to 30, young professionals, partners and stakeholders.
The forum served as an occasion to reflect on the progress made by youth sponsored and empowered by the Foundation, ONE UN and partners over the past 15 years, from its early days when a conscious decision was taken at Imbuto - then known as PACFA (Protection and Care of Families Against HIV/AIDS), to help young people finish their high school education, despite their vulnerable economic conditions.
According to the First Lady, Imbuto Foundation, with the help of its partners mainly the government and the One UN agencies have given out over 7,000 scholarships in the last 15 years.
Mrs Kagame said that the “Education for All” notion would only come to life once all stakeholders, including; parents, governments and development partners take it upon themselves to foster advantageous educational environment.
“Because of your contribution in those years, thousands of lives have been forever changed for the better,” Mrs Kagame hailed partners.
“Today, these seeds are bearing their fruits because they found someone who supported their education. These seeds are the edified generation we celebrate because together, we are answerable to the goal of the notion “Education for all,” she added.
The Edified Generation forum included a panel discussion; offering an opportunity to beneficiaries of the scholarship programme to reflect on their achievements thus far. Through the forum, youth were encouraged to develop an empowered attitude towards developing not only their own future, but to also nurture their talents.
While appearing on the panel, Samuel Mulindwa, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education said, that different scholarship programmes have played an “enormous role” in complementing Rwanda’s efforts in promoting education for all.
Several beneficiaries of the scholarship programme hailed Imbuto Foundation for being their “turning point” through supporting their education. Majority of those have finished school and are now budding-but-sounding entrepreneurs while others are serving in various capacities in the public sector.
“Education has proved time and again that it will improve and uplift lives of many. I speak for all of us, when I say thank you for your contribution to ensuring that our children are educated.” First Lady added.
To the youth, she said that, “even though the government has the responsibility over your socio-economic wellbeing, it is imperative that you also take responsibility of what is being given to you.
“Your testimonies reflect the significance of have a good nation, a good people around you and this should inspire you to become a light of hope to your peers or even those that are less privileged. You can definitely do a lot too in making sure that those vulnerable people in your communities have access to education and basic needs.”
She urged parents to take heed in their children’s education needs.
Meanwhile, The Minister of Education Papias Musafiri commended Imbuto Foundation on their role in promoting Education in Rwanda.