KIGALI - President Paul Kagame has urged the Rwandan youth to make the right choices, not tomorrow but right now. He was, on Friday, closing a one-day youth forum at Kigali Serena Hotel organised by Imbuto Foundation, an initiative of the First Lady, Jeannette Kagame. Imbuto is a Kinyarwanda word that means ‘a seed’.Kagame explained the significance of a seed and highlighted the importance of keeping it under close scrutiny during its germination stage. He however said that not all seeds were good, adding that only high-quality varieties can give a good harvest.
The forum, the first of its kind, brought together over 300 youth from various higher institutions of learning.
The Head of State said that participants had been selected as representatives of many other young Rwandans whom he said were not only the future’s leaders, but those of today as well.
He said young people needed to be shaped into responsible citizens ready to take the nation to greater heights adding that they were the hope of the nation.
He urged the young generation to make good choices in their lives and to work hard since it is out of sweat that people succeed in future.
People reap what they sow, the President reminded the youth.
He went on to list three factors that he thought were critical for people to achieve their dreams; being able to think big, fully exploiting one’s potential, and the capacity for people to develop themselves while at the same time supporting others.
He advised the youth not to give up in the face of serious challenges, but rather to remain focused on the goals they set.
“We have potentials which, if fully exploited, can help develop our country. How come others are developing? Isn’t it because they made the right choices? Why can’t we equally develop like them? Our destiny lies in our own hands, and therefore we should not look up to anybody else,” President Kagame said.
Imbuto Foundation emanated from the Protection and Care of Families Against AIDS (PACFA) – another initiative by Mrs Kagame.
On her part, the First Lady also urged the youth to be focused, adding that every success in life was a result of proper planning and a clear vision
“The country counts on you,” she told the youth, adding that it would be a huge loss if the young people did not fully participate in national development programmes.
Mrs Kagame said that the youth should participate in achieving the goals set in performance contracts and not leave that responsibility to the older leadership.
She said the country’s bright future lies with its youth, and urged them to be purposeful in their daily activities.
The First Lady said such initiatives as the Young Rwandan Women Achievers awards (also under the Imbuto Foundation) was another way of encouraging young people to take on more roles in the country’s development.
The initiative is meant to recognise efforts of young Rwandan women within the country and in the Diaspora, and to set role models for young girls.
Among the issues discussed at the launch of the youth forum include values behind success, making choices and personality empowerment.
The inaugural ceremony attracted several leaders from different domains who urged the youth that social transformation requires passion, creativity and innovation.