Emile Nsegiyumva, a 19 year old student in Gabiro high school in the Gatsibo district early this week returned to Rwanda after a three-week tour of the United States.
Nsegiyumva is the first Rwandan student to travel to the United States under a programme run by the Kittelson Charitable Foundation intended to inspire Rwandan youth to further their education.
The initiative is to give young students a chance to get exposed and to inspire them to study hard during their academic career.
During the three weeks in America, Nsegiyumva says he made friends while visiting a local school in Oregon which got him to compare life there with one back home.
“I have seen so much and what I have learnt from the visit will help me study hard in order to go back to the United States for further studies,” Nsegiyumva said during a phone interview soon after landing.
The headmaster of Gabiro high school Shadrac Muhirwe said that many students from Gabiro will be traveling to the United States through this arrangement.
“It was agreed that every semester, the charitable foundation will sponsor one student from the school to travel to the United States. The purpose is to visit other students in America and come back to share experience with other students back here,” Muhirwe said.
The foundation has already identified another student who is likely to spend another three week exchange next semester in Baltimore.
In December 2007, the Kittelson Charitable Foundation was established and began funding the education of 26 young students in Gastibo district in January 2008.
Daily Journal of Commerce, a US local newspaper that ran a story on Nsegiyumva’s visit in America quotes Wayne Kittelson, the foundation’s president saying that he was inspired to help Rwandan students after learning that the country’s per capita income is 200 dollars while the cost of tuition, books and supplies typically runs to more than 500 dollars.
“Kids need to know that they have options and while conditions in Rwanda have improved in the last 14 years, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” Kittelson is quoted in the newspaper as saying.
Kittelson said he hopes to inspire even more Rwandans to seek an education with a new found knowledge of computers, infrastructure planning and engineering so that they may come back and help develop their country.