Three hundred and fifty youth refugee students from four refugee camps in Rwanda graduated from Gitwe Adventist College, in Ruhango District, after completing the 45-day Training and Vocational and Education Training (TVET), on Jan. 12.
Congolese refugee students, who were staying in the Gihembe, Nyabiheke, Kiziba and Kigeme refugee camps in Rwanda, were trained by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) office in Rwanda and Impact Hope, an organization supporting schooling for refugees. They received training in different trades: 146 trained on hairdressing, 58 on electric power installations and domestic maintenance, 86 on tailoring, 35 on plumbing and 24 on permaculture.
“Start from the acquired skills to develop durable solutions for you and refugees in general.”
Several government officers and church leaders in Rwanda attended the graduation ceremony, including Minister of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDIMAR) De Bonheur Jeanne d’Arc, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rwanda Hesron R. Byilingiro, ADRA Rwanda Country Director Geoffrey Kayonde, and representatives from IMPACT HOPE and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Jeanne d’Arc reminded graduating students that they must begin their developmental journey by putting the acquired technical skills to good use, to create their own jobs and develop their career for success and self-sufficiency. “I would like to remind you that the technical skills are a foundation of self-reliance, financial independence, and social welfare,” she said. “Start from the acquired skills to develop durable solutions for you and refugees in general.”
Kayonde also noted that the acquired technical skills would enable trained refugee youth to compete in the Rwandan labor market. “This graduation means that you have increased your employment opportunities after the completion of your secondary and or university studies,” he said.
Students received certificates and were requested to be role models in their refugee communities because their achievements will motivate other refugee children to stay in school and perform well academically.
The Rwandan government and its partners, including ADRA Rwanda, said they are committed to doing their part to support the training of more than 160,000 refugees in Rwanda. “[We want them] to acquire a new set of skills that make them competent in their employment, thus giving them the potential for a better future,” they said.