First Lady challenges youth to ‘stand up and be counted’ during Agahozo Shalom fundraising

The First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, yesterday challenged youth from Agahozo Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) take full advantage of the skills they acquire from the Village and be change makers.
First Lady Jeannette Kagame shares a light moment with Agahozo Shalom children. (Courtesy)
First Lady Jeannette Kagame shares a light moment with Agahozo Shalom children. (Courtesy)

The First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, yesterday challenged youth from Agahozo Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) take full advantage of the skills they acquire from the Village and be change makers.

Mrs. Kagame made the remarks at the Inaugural ‘Stand Up and Be Counted’ fundraising drive held at the Village’s premises in Rwamagana, Eastern Province.

 

ASYV, which is home to 500 vulnerable children and orphans, provides youth with formal and informal education.

 

"If you take full advantage of the holistic educational approach: the intellectual growth, the healing and emotional component, and the exposure to practical skills, there is no doubt that this community of change makers will deliver no less than the incredible," said the First Lady.

 

The inaugural fundraising that was characterised by raffles and fund collections aimed to raise money for the upkeep of the children in the village.

The First Lady donated US$5000 to the fundraising effort.

"I encourage you to think of yourselves as a community of change makers. Understand that every opportunity demands you to be the very best of yourselves. You must always strive for the highest manifestation of your talents and realize that excellence will always be expected of you," Mrs Kagame told the youth.

At the Village youth are equipped with several skills depending on their talents; these skills range from art to modern agriculture.

Stand Up and Be Counted

The First Lady pointed out that the 'Stand up and be Counted' campaign fits well in the context of the 20th Liberation celebration.

"Rwandans resolved to continue standing for dignity, by working towards economic liberation. Supporting Agahozo Shalom Youth Village is a symbol that we can and should support our very own and thus guard this jewel we call Rwanda," she said.

Mrs Kagame hailed the Rwandan business community particularly the private sector for continuously committing resources for the sustainability of the Village.

The First Lady further challenged the audience asking, "as Rwandans, will we all stand up and be counted as drivers of our own destiny? Will the Agahozo Shalom youth 'Stand up and be counted' as a generation of confident and critical thinkers? Will the business community stand up and be counted as a source of steady support, as we steer Rwanda towards economic liberation?"

Tribute to Anne Heyman

During the event Mrs Kagame paid special tribute to Anne Heyman, philanthropist and founder of Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, who tragically died earlier this year in a horse riding accident, remembering her as an “honourable person”.

"One of the caring spirits whose dream was to support our country restore the rhythm of life: a natural and beautiful rhythm that was disrupted, during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. We honor Anne's noble vision of creating a space where both healing and learning could happen - the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village," said the First Lady.

She added that, "Anne treated all the students in this village as her own children. This explains why she is known to most of you as mom, others grandma, I think we can call her sister. I have no doubt that if she were here with us her heart would be filled with pride, as any mother's would. The Agahozo Shalom Youth Village was founded on an ideal that I believe is important for us to aspire to especially the young ones: Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew phrase meaning repairing or healing the world".

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