Driven by the urge to learn more about the beauty of their motherland, its history and culture, more than 100 Rwandan youth from all over Canada are gathered in Gatineau, Quebec for a five-day civic education program, commonly known as Itorero ry’Igihugu.
The youth, most of whom were either born in Canada or went there as toddlers, have called the opportunity a life changing one.
Not only will the program expose them to the country that they dearly love, it will also provide them with a chance to discuss with their peers the concerns they face growing up in a foreign country.
“The program is rich enough for you to know your country, its history and culture,” said Edda Mukabagwiza, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Canada, as she presided over the official opening of Itorero ry’Igihugu on Thursday night.
During the course of their stay in Gatineau, they will spend time learning about various Rwandan aspects that include art and poetry, basics of Kinyarwanda, meaning of some of the famous Rwandan proverbs, and most importantly understanding the role the youth play in the building of their nation.
“I promise you will have fun and at the end of it, you will cherish the moments you had here and go back home proud to be a Rwandan,” the envoy told the youth.
She reminded them that they are the future and the strong shoulders on which the hopes and dreams of their elders rest.
“You will not be disappointed by the choice you made,” she said.
The program was possible thanks to the combined efforts and dedication by the High Commission, the Rwandan Community Associations across Canada and the Canadian Association of Rwandan Youth.
Facilitated by seasoned Rwandan leaders, elders and renowned artists, the program will introduce the youth to Rwanda’s rich culture and heritage.
It will offer the youth an opportunity to know Rwanda’s progress 17 years after the Genocide against the Tutsi and how they could be part of its redevelopment.
Mukabagwiza requested the youth to ignore those with malicious agendas against Rwanda and instead work collectively to support the nation’s development.
William Ntidendereza, the Vice Chairman of Itorero ry’ igihugu, called upon the youth to always take pride in their country and always be exemplary.
The program has brought together young Rwandans between the ages of 16 and 35.
Canada becomes the third country to host Itorero ry’Igihugu after Belgium and India.