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As 3,037 trainees graduated yesterday from Akazi Kanoze program, Rwandan youth have been reminded to keep in mind that they are the pillar on which the country’s self-sustainability dream will be built.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame told the graduates (1,522 boys and 1,515 girls) that they have to exploit the skills that they earned from Akazi Kanoze trainings as much as possible.

“Have goals, do an honest self-assessment and make sure you know what you want. Always have in your mind that it is possible,” she told the graduates.

Kagame told the graduates that they do not have to fear seeking loans because they are business development funds waitingto be used. She also advised the graduates to create cooperatives in order to earn sponsorship.

“Please include those who did not have this chance you had into your cooperative. Teamwork doesn’t mean working with only those who you know, but pushing each other (with even those who had fewer chances) towards success. Always have that will of enhancing your knowledge,” she advised.

The youth were also urged against earning money through dubious means.

“You have to avoid those unaccepted ways of getting money such as robbery, prostitution, drug trafficking and so on. Start with what you have now. We have confidence in you; you are the pillars on which Rwanda’s self-sustainability dream is built.”

In his remarks, Education Minister Vincent Biruta stressed that initiatives like Akazi Kanoze help Rwanda build a knowledge-based economy.

“This is why we encourage such initiatives, to empower our youth with technical and entrepreneurial skills. Such initiatives shape our youth’s minds towards a sustainable future success,” he said, and commended the fact that the proportion of girls and boys is nearly equal.

Akazi Kanoze was launched in October 2009, as a Youth Livelihoods Project. It is a four-year USAID-funded project and implemented by Education Development Center (EDC), which provides Rwandan youth with the necessary tools and resources to enter into a positive development pathway that will lead to increased lifelong livelihood opportunities.

Today, it has enrolled 8,688 youth, out of which 7,162 have already completed the Work Readiness Training. Among the completers also, 4,062 youth pursued further education and 3,318 youth accessed an economic opportunity (paid internship, employment or self-employment).The project is targeting 15,000 youth by January 2014.

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