Despite Rwanda's upward trajectory, 39% of the population lives below the poverty line, making less than $2 per day. We help students rise above that line.
While the Genocide Against the Tutsi occurred 25 years ago, the consequences of the genocide remain active today. A generation of children lost their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and entire families. This "lost generation" does not have access to what young people in other African countries may take for granted. They survived the genocide, but live in a world lacking the stability and support of family and community.
Today, many of these survivors and their children live on less than $2 per day. For these young people, the idea of attending a university or vocational school is out of the question. They don't have the funds available for either. Rwanda Rise offers young Rwandans hope for a better future. We make it possible for them to afford their dream of earning a one-year certificate from Hope Vocational Training Center, opening the door to a bright and sustainable future!
Josephine had a dream of becoming a welder, but had no means to pursue the training. One of our staff met Josephine and offered her a scholarship, funded by Rwanda Rise supporters in the United States. In 2018 she graduated and today is using her skills as a welder in the marketplace.
Vestine is a graduate of Hope Vocational Training Center. While a student, she trained in HVTC's School of Sewing. Vestine is typical of students in her school, she comes from poverty and a family that still suffers from the effects of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. Poverty in Rwanda means living on $1.25 or less per day and without running water or electricity.
Her "home" is nothing more than a small enclosed room where the family sleeps and is protected from the rain in the two rainy seasons. Vestine was able to receive her vocational education in one of the 6 training schools at Hope Vocational Training Center which, in addition to her Sewing School, includes the programs of Carpentry, Culinary Arts, Hairdressing, Masonry, and Welding. She could not have afforded the $720 tuition for her training but received student aid through partners such as Compassion International, World Vision, World Concern, and private donors.
While a Sewing student, Vestine also received training in programs like Business Entrepreneurship and Business Computer. These programs introduced her to the idea of starting her own business and gave her the skills necessary to form an organizational plan. Along the way to graduation, she also developed relationships with her fellow students--some of which were forming their own ideas of business ownership. During the final months of internships required for graduation, Vestine and 4 other sewing students began to strategize about forming a co-operative relationship to start a sewing business. This sewing co-op opened within 6 months of graduation.
Today, Vestine and her partners are working to franchise their business and have locations in other areas of Rwanda. To support this plan, they have partnered with Hope Vocational Training Center to take students fulfilling their internships. From these interning students, some will be given the challenge and help necessary to start their own franchise sewing shop.
The big dream for these enterprising business owners is to construct a textile mill and mass produce their designs for men's and women's fashion. From poverty to sustainable living-wage income, young adult men and women, like Vestine and her business partners, are realizing their dreams. Vocational education is taking their hopes and dreams and turning them into reality.
Highlights from the Rwanda Rise graduation ceremony