RUTSIRO - THE Government has announced plans to turn Iwawa Island in Rutsiro district into a first rate rehabilitation and vocational centre.
Launching the vocational school at the island, Youth Minister Protais Mitali said that the initiative is part of government’s policy to nurture productive youth and equip them with necessary skills to boost the economy.
“Many of these youth were arrested by police for various offences, and they were supposed to be prosecuted but due to their age, we decided to give them a second chance to become better and productive people useful to society,” Mitari said.
The 15 square kilometre island of Iwawa is home to 1,115 youth who have undergone three months of civic education. They have now begun studying 11 skills with the assistance of young facilitators who have just graduated from Singapore and the Philippines courtesy of the Work Force Development Authority (WDA).
“We have introduced a new phase that will give this institution a new face lift in the country and the region,” Mitali told the youth who couldn’t conceal their joy of acquiring the new skills.
The courses to be undertaken include brick laying using modern hydro form machines, carpentry, plumbing, basket weaving, entrepreneurship, commercial farming, bee keeping, English, Swahili, among many.
According to the minister, the skills the youth will get will enable them be competent on the job market in the region. He added that their families will be able to visit them and that they will also be free to ask for leave to visit their families.
The Minister underscored that the facility is not a prison.
“These courses are designed in such a way that in the first phase which is composed of 11 courses lasting nine months, 80% are practical and 20% theory. This is followed by a three months industrial internship which qualifies them for the second phase comprising six courses,” Didier Munezero, a WDA official in charge training said.
19 year old Pacific Kwizera joined the centre after hearing the news.
“I heard people saying that there is a place where people are prepared to study vital practical courses and that that place is Iwawa Island,” he told the Minister, adding that he immediately made up his mind to come to the island.
He said that he used all possible means to make it to Iwawa.
“I had to steal from people to get the transport to Rubavu, and I boarded the private local boat to be here and now I am happy that I am going to acquire these skills for free,” he said.