KIGALI - Parents and guardians with children in Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Development Centre (IRVSDC), yesterday, hailed the government for establishing the centre, saying that it has given their children an opportunity to a decent life.
The parents said this during a meeting they held with officials from the Ministry of Youth.
“I had lost hope in my son but since he was taken to this centre I am optimistic that he will be a better person,” Jeanne Umurage, 47, said.
“My only son had refused to go to school. He had become a thief and a drug addict. I was happy when he called me asking for forgiveness saying that he’s a changed person,” Umurage who lives in Kimisagara, added.
“I wish all parents can have hope like mine. Our children are happy because they have acquired life skills.”
Idrisse Nsanzurwimo from Gasabo, said that his brother had gone missing after he dropped out of school and that he was selling marijuana in Kigali city suburbs. He noted that he was happy his brother was gaining skills.
“I want to see him a changed person,” Nsanzurwimo added
Parents also requested that other courses be introduced at the centre and that they are determined to meet tuition fees if need be.
The meeting, which was attended by hundreds of parents and guardians is the first of its kind since the centre was established in February last year.
The meeting was called to lay strategies on how to help the former street children once they graduate from the centre.
More than 1,000 students from Iwawa are scheduled to graduate next month.
The centre offers five vocational courses, including carpentry, commercial farming, tailoring and construction.
It also offers English and Swahili language lessons.
Heads of carpentry and tailoring cooperative societies who attended the meeting offered to give jobs to the students once they graduate.
A Parents-Guardian committee headed by Charles Kabanda was also established during the same meeting to follow up on the activities of the students once they graduate.
Nicolas Niyongabo, the coordinator of the vocational centre, said that plans are underway to give the students start-up kits once they complete.
Edward Kalisa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, who presided over the event, appealed to the parents to have an upper hand in reintegrating the children in the society once they graduate.