RUTSIRO – 593 former street children Saturday graduated from Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational skills centre in Rutsiro district.
It is the second graduation at the centre.
The colourful ceremony attracted thousands of parents and local leaders, including top government officials. Everyone looked jolly, seeming to embrace a timely gift for Christmas.
Saddi Zirarushya, who spoke on behalf of the graduates, was thankful for the psychological support he received so as to renounce his former street lifestyles in exchange for discipline, society and religious values.
“It is amazing how I dropped my past dirty habits because I have never been this optimistic about my life,” he said.
Zirarushya expressed strong belief that his newly acquired skills in tailoring, would allow him to live a responsible life free of alcohol and drugs. He is one of the 77 students who acquired practical skills in Tailoring.
324 others completed courses in Brick Laying and Construction, 45 in Bee Keeping, 49 in Commercial Farming and 98 in Carpentry.
The government set up the rehab centre last February in order to give street children the chance to get off the streets. Students do not only take part in vocational training, but also enjoy cultural, language and sports activities.
During the graduation, Youth Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana, challenged the public to continually support the rehabilitated youth so as to enable them fully utilize their newly acquired skills.
“It’s our joint responsibility to ensure that these young boys do not slide back into their past bad and intolerable behaviours because they are the future leaders of our country,” Nsengimana counselled.
The centre now remains with a total of 1,182 young boys who are undertaking training courses at various levels.
Nicholas Niyomugabo, the Coordinator of the centre, said that was ready to receive up to 600 new entrants when recruitment resumes next month.