Over 1,000 demobilised soldiers were yesterday awarded with certificates after completing six-months of training in various vocational courses, including electronics, construction, mechanics and fine art.
The training programme was sponsored by the government, Kigali City and several development partners, through the Rwanda Demobilisation and Re-integration Commission (RDRC).
RDRC has trained over 6,000 former soldiers and 1,000 civilians since the programme began in 2006.
The coordinator of RDRC, Francis Musoni, observed that 96 percent of the beneficiaries are now employed, which has improved their livelihoods.
“In 2005, we devised a plan of equipping ex-soldiers with vocational skills because most of them did not have any other employable skills, after their service in the army,” Musoni noted.
“At least 96 percent of those we trained are now employed, and according to our survey, 72 percent of them even got their jobs before graduating”.
He added that with the increasing demand for vocational skills on the labour market, the commission is determined to train more ex-combatants.
The programme has been commended for producing the highest number of quality workforce. Most of the beneficiaries, present at yesterday’s function, testified their standards of living had improved after acquiring the skills.
“I enrolled for lessons in plumbing in 2007 and soon after got a job at the Egyptian Embassy. I have since been awarded part-time jobs for installation and repair of water equipment; I built a commercial building and have two dairy cows,” said. Jean Nepo Hakizimana.
Petronia Uwera, who just completed a short course in beauty care, talked of her plans to set up a salon, which she is optimistic would improve her family’s welfare.
The beneficiaries were also presented with tool kits, which will be used in applying their respective skills.
David Munyurangabo, a commissioner at RDRC, called on the beneficiaries to form cooperatives to maintain discipline and the spirit of hard work.
Over 1,000 more demobilised soldiers are set to enrol in similar courses next month.