500 Diaspora youths start Itorero

At least 500 youths were expected to arrive at the Rwanda Defence Force Combat Training Centre in Gabiro for the annual Itorero by press time yesterday. The 10th edition of the civic education exercise, locally known as Itorero, will be a special intake of Indangamirwa, as it targets all those that went through the training since 2008, for a refresher course.
Some of the youths roll their luggage to an assembly point ahead of their departure to Gabiro. / Timothy Kisambira
Some of the youths roll their luggage to an assembly point ahead of their departure to Gabiro. / Timothy Kisambira

At least 500 youths were expected to arrive at the Rwanda Defence Force Combat Training Centre in Gabiro for the annual Itorero by press time yesterday.

The 10th edition of the civic education exercise, locally known as Itorero, will be a special intake of Indangamirwa, as it targets all those that went through the training since 2008, for a refresher course.

 

At least 2,000 youths have passed through Indangamirwa series since its inception 10 years ago, and this refresher edition will last a month.

 

According to some trainers, the course will have an “improved” curricula, tailored at helping the youth to have a common understanding of Rwandan history, identity and values—considered essential tools—that would help them forge a better life and a better nation for the generations to come.

 

Participants are also expected to learn some military basics as part of training package.

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Buses transport the youths to the Itorero in Gabiro in Gatsibo District. / Timothy Kisambira
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Parents wait to see off their children at Petit Stade in Remera.
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The youths queue to crosscheck their names on a list before departure. / Timothy Kisambira
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The young men and women shortly before their departure to the Itorero.

According to the National Itorero Commission, they felt it was important to bring those who went through the training, some of whom have since returned home, for a refresher.

This, organisers say, will help the youths to align themselves to the country’s vision of a united nation, grounded on principles of patriotism yet free from any forms of discrimination.

At the closure of the ninth edition in August 2016, President Paul Kagame said it was high time organisers recalled those that attended the previous series for a refresher course.

In a recent interview with The New Times, Boniface Rucagu, the chairperson of the commission, said the 10th edition was in response to the President’s call to give extended time to the participants to have an advanced training package. Previously, the session took two weeks.

“This is a special training. We will focus on general civic training, as it has always been, but we will have enough time to put emphasis on the importance of our culture in the evolving world, the significance of upholding national values, and patriotism,” Rucagu said.

Participants who spoke to The New Times yesterday said they were upbeat.

“I don’t take any opportunity like this for granted. Anything that gives me a chance to learn one or two things about my country and how I can be of value in nation building, I grab it with both hands. I am looking forward to what we have to learn this time, given the length of the stay,” Sharon Baingana said.

Emmy Busingye, who attended the fifth edition of Indangamirwa, said the Government has set up all the possible mechanisms to empower the youth to become future competent leaders.

“I have a feeling this (Itorero) is definitely one way of reminding us that we are never forgotten. I don’t know what to expect but I know, for sure, everything will be for my own benefit and, thus for the nation,” Busingye said.

Jovia Mutoni said: “A month should be enough to change us completely for the better. Our leaders have been so thoughtful of the youth and, through this, I believe they want to have enough time to mentor and transform us into responsible citizens for sure.”

Yves Mao Mbugo, one of the parents who drove their children to Petit Stade in Remera to join the rest for the Intore, said: “Itorero helps to sow seeds of national values in our children. My son studies from the UK and we hardly find time to tell him about all these things because he doesn’t have much time when he comes for school break. The training will empower my son with cultural knowledge, national values and many other things he will need growing up.”

According to Rucagu, civic training has had a great impact on the promotion of national values, pride and patriotism among young Rwandans.

Citing an example, Rucagu said Indangamirwa graduates normally contribute about 70 per cent of what happens during Rwanda Day events across the world.

“Through such training, our young generations have realised that Rwandan spirit is more important than ethnicity,” he said.

The training admitted Rwandans between the age of 18 and 35, who live or lived abroad but have attended the training previously. However, a few exceptions has seen some Itorero admitted to the tenth edition.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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