Over 600 youths formerly drug and alcohol addicts on Friday graduated from Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Development Centre (IRVSDC) based in Rutsiro District, in the Western Province.
The sixth graduation ceremony which was presided over by the Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, saw 191 graduates receive certificates in carpentry, 414 in masonry and 91 in tailoring.
Besides vocational training, the centre also promotes religion, culture and sports.
In his remarks, Nsengimana advised the students to be focused and reliable which he said will help them catch up with the time they lost during their indulgence in illicit substances.
He told them that the country’s future lies in their hands.
“We can have a drug free country. As young people, you can help fight drug abuse in your respective communities. Use the skills you have attained to develop the country,” he advised.
Some graduates The New Times talked to said they had given up on life and commended the centre for helping them out of the bad habits and equiping them with life skills.
“The Sauls have become Pauls. Now that I am free of drugs, I am determined and I will never go back,” said Robert Ngenzi, one of the graduates.
The graduates pledged to be role models in their respective villages.
Vincent Mwiseneza, another graduate said before joining the centre, he used to take drugs and would dodge classes.
“I cannot describe all I have gained from this centre, after here I will create my own job and share skills I have acquired with my contemporaries.” said Mwiseneza, 22-year-old graduate of carpentry.
Fidele Ndayisaba, the mayor of the City of Kigali urged them to never revert to such vices.
“Drugs are everywhere and you can still get them but you can make a choice between right and wrong,” he said.
Over 4,500 youths have graduated in six promotions since the government set up the rehabilitation and vocational skills development center on Iwawa Island in 2010.