Last Friday, 350 Congolese refugee students in Rwanda completed a six-week vocational training in permaculture, plumbing, electrical installation and hair dressing at Gitwe Adventist School, Ruhango District in Southern Province.
The training was facilitated by the Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA), Impact Hope, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
During the ceremony, disaster and refugees management minister Jeanne d’Arc de Bonheur said the training was one of the strategies to meet the challenges of shrinking international support for refugees.
“It’s a national goal that all people, including refugees, become self-reliant. We hope that such vocational training will enable the beneficiaries to face the world with greater confidence regardless of where they are,” said Bonheur.
ADRA’s country director Geoffrey Kayonde explained that they chose to facilitate vocational skills training for refugees to enable them earn a living in their host countries.
Concerning shrinking international support for refugees, UNHCR’s associate programmes officer Dadie Camara attributed it to the current refugee crisis in European countries and the fact that refugee problems are becoming perpetual instead of reducing, which discourages donors.
“That’s why UNHCR is sponsoring ADRA in providing durable solutions for sustainability of refugees, especially in Rwanda where the politics is open to refugees” said Camara.
Jean Pierre Mupenzi, who trained as a hair dresser, said that with the acquired skills, he is optimistic that he will get work instead of wandering everywhere looking for what to do.