Helping youth in Rwanda pursue vocational training so they can break free from poverty
COVID-19 has brought serious disruptions to children’s education worldwide. In Rwanda, our frontline church partners have witnessed these impacts firsthand. Families who were already struggling to survive before the pandemic have been pushed even deeper into poverty. At the same time, the cost of education has continued to rise. Many students have had to drop out of school simply because their families can no longer afford the fees.
As young adults reach college-age and are positioning themselves to enter the workforce, they need specialized job skills in order to gain decent employment. Without any kind of higher education or skills training, they will only qualify for jobs that barely pay enough to live on. Our partners in Rwanda recognize the critical role of education in gaining lasting freedom from poverty. There is also a shortage of skilled trades across the country, which presents a wide range of opportunities for these students.
Alarmed by the heightened vulnerability of some of the youth they are serving, our partners wanted to reach students at this critical juncture in their lives and give them a chance to attend vocational training.
All of these students had enrolled in a vocational course of their choosing and were receiving some financial support from the churches, but this just wasn’t enough to cover all of the fees, so our partners reached out for help.
With your partnership through giving, 145 students in Rwanda have now completed their post-secondary vocational training. At the time of this report, students have just finished their final examinations and are waiting on those results.
Funds for this intervention were distributed from Compassion’s National Office in Rwanda to participating churches. The churches were responsible for sending students’ tuition payments to their respective institutions. Bank statements, payment orders and payment lists were secured by the churches as proof of payment. Funds that had been initially budgeted for monitoring and evaluation were redistributed to students studying video production, as their tuition fees increased beyond what was expected. All monitoring expenses were covered by the National Office.
In total, 15 students have received diplomas in land surveying, 40 in food processing, 25 in computer system technology, 49 in auto system engine technology and 16 in video production. By gaining job skills according to their interests and abilities, these students are now well-positioned to get good jobs and become economically self-sufficient. Thanks to you, 145 young adults are full of hope for a brighter future and now have a real chance at beating poverty for good!
Video production: Sixteen students studied video production. The program, which included an internship component, trains students in preparing, producing and editing video content.
Computer training: Twenty-five students were able to study computer system technology, which included learning how to develop software. Students hope to use these skills to earn a living.
Top-up fees: This intervention provided students with top-up fees to cover the cost of their tuition at a vocational training institute. Students were so relieved that they could return to school and concentrate on their studies!
Automobile mechanics: A total of 49 students were able to study auto system engine technology, which involved theoretical and practical classes.
Food processing: Forty students studied food processing. This program included a practical internship and will qualify students for a range of jobs in food preparation and packaging.
Your Gift Provides...
• School fees for vocational training for 145 students, including:
o 15 youth studying land surveying
o 40 youth studying food processing
o 25 youth studying computer system technology
o 49 youth studying auto system engine technology
o 16 youth studying video production
ReportA message from those your gift helped
Before the implementation of the intervention, I lived a hopeless life because I did not have a clear path for my education. I was highly vulnerable, and the support fees I was getting were less than what was required to access quality education. There was a likelihood of dropping out of school because there was no other person to support my education in a good boarding vocational institution. Generally, my life before the implementation of the intervention was full of messy thoughts.
Now, I am really living a happy life full of hope. I am anticipating a brighter future for me, my family, community and my nation as well. During school holidays I can get part-time jobs that earn me some money for scholastic materials and upkeep. I have mental stability because I have funding for my education, and my family is happy. My concentration in class is high because I know that I am supported.
For me, this means that my future is bright and that of my family as well. My family members will also benefit from my success because they will be provided with what they need. I will live to testify to the goodness of our Lord, who has enabled me to reach this far. I believe the future of my family members will also be built on God’s faithfulness to His people, because of what He did for me—a person who was highly vulnerable and without hope for the future.
The lessons I have learned are many! God knew me before I was created in my mother’s womb and His plans are always good for me. I should not worry about the future because God is always in control. I have learned that there are people out here who have hearts to help those living in poverty, and I feel I should always pray for them so that God continues to bless them as they also bless those in need. I also strive to help others through my little means.
I wholeheartedly appreciate you for having contributed a great deal to my education. Without this intervention, I would have dropped out of school. This would not just affect me, but my family, church, community and my nation as well. I pray that God blesses everyone who funded this intervention and your entire families. Your support has been and is still instrumental in shaping my future.
ReportThank you for your generosity
For children and youth growing up in poverty, education can truly change everything. By helping these students access post-secondary education, you have not only equipped them with the practical knowledge and skills they need to get good jobs but you have given them the opportunity to discover their unique, God-given gifts and abilities.
With the top-up fees, the students became emotionally stable, allowing them to focus on their training. Your help also relieved their caregivers from worrying how they would find the extra money so their children could continue with their training. We are so excited to see what doors will open for students as they enter this next phase of their lives. The students are looking forward to finding a job in their field, and some are already planning to save a portion of their earnings towards college or university training. These students come from highly vulnerable families and would never have imagined a future free from poverty; now, their perspective has completely changed. They feel empowered to pursue their goals, knowing that with hard work and God’s help and provision, anything is possible!
When one person is set free from poverty, the people around them are impacted, too. Each of these students will have the opportunity to create lasting change in their communities as they pursue their gifts and are able to contribute to society in a meaningful way. We are expectant that your support for this initiative will bear fruit that lasts for many, many years. Thank you!
ReportA message from a centre director
The lives of the beneficiaries have changed tremendously in comparison to how their lives were before this grant. Before the intervention, beneficiaries were benefiting from fees received from support funds, and this was far less than what was required for their education. Therefore, most beneficiaries resorted to joining institutions that are not of good quality. Even still, they could drop out from those institutions because of financial challenges. The intervention therefore addressed this problem. Beneficiaries were taken to institutions of good quality and they had stability in their studies, hence solving the problem of school drop-outs. This has also contributed to better academic performance.
The intervention benefited the church by reducing the financial burden. Trying to find top-up fees for the beneficiaries was not easy for the church, because most churches in Rwanda do not have noticeable income. Therefore, the intervention grant helped churches to have an increased number of their beneficiaries joining vocational institutions where they acquire job-creation skills and employment opportunities. These benefits help in the development of their churches, communities and the nation as well. This intervention also helped in fostering a good relationship between the church and the government. This relationship is built on the government’s policy of investing more in vocational education.
This intervention increased my zeal for beneficiaries’ holistic development that includes funding for their education. It motivates me to share at our youth meetings about the importance of joining vocational institutions, so they can gain practical skills for sustainable personal, family and community and the nation’s development. The intervention grant also motivates me to have more meetings with the beneficiaries and their parents to teach them about the importance of joining vocational institutions.
I pray God’s abundant blessings to everyone who financed this intervention. Without this financial support, the dreams of our youth would not be realized and this would affect their future, families, community and our nation. We assure you, who financed this intervention, that your contribution towards the beneficiaries’ education is a turning point to a brighter future for our youth, their families, the community and the nation as well.