By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
Have you ever thought about having completed a vocational or a technical course and failing to get a job? Another question that comes also to my mind regarding the TVET education in Rwanda is: Do our education system provide enough skills for students to create jobs or we are still creating job seekers? Such questions are among the most common when considering quality education that can provide solutions to the unemployment problem, especially among the youth.
For parents at Don Bosco Muhazi Muhazi Technical and Vocational Education and Training School, the entrepreneurship program has played a crucial role in helping students to come up with the business ideas that will help them to improve their socio-economic conditions both in society and at family level.
Alphonse Twizeyimana, Parents representative at Don Bosco Muhazi TVET School revealed that “When students are about to graduate there are courses that give them entrepreneurship skills. Students really need to be attentive to these lessons,
“I remember when we were here in 2019, the representative of the Gikomero Sector’s Saving and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) gave us a good word, when he asked the students who have business projects to bring them to the SACCO so that they can get financial support.” Mr. Twizeyimana said.
Through the Entrepreneurship program, young people are trained on the creation and management of small businesses as well as on how to develop psychosocial competence.
Mr. Twizeyimana urges students to take care of Entrepreneurship courses as it is a bridge that connects school knowledge to life skills.
When you visit Salesian vocational schools, most of the young people who are pursuing vocational and technical courses feel confident that once they are equipped with the required skills, they might not fear to face challenges and opportunities ahead of them.
On the other hand, there are still a large number of young people who are not able to get a vocational education mainly due to various problems including low income in the family, problems caused by various forms of trauma and loss of confidence in today’s life where youth are often threatened by poverty.
Since Don Bosco Muhazi started to offer vocational training to young people in Masonry, Culinary Arts and Tailoring Trades, there has been a contribution that has been made so far in terms of enabling young people from vulnerable families to have access to education.
According to Sister Nyanzira Leocadie, Headmistress of the Don Bosco Muhazi Technical and Vocational Training School “More than 800 students have graduated at this School.”
She added that “From 2009 when we started vocational training until 2017, this school was not known. It was in 2017 that it became known.”
“Since 2018, the government has started issuing Certificates to our students. Of the more than 800 students who have graduated, 194 who have received the Government Certificates are made up of 3 academic promotions namely those who completed studies in 2018, 2019 and 2020-2021.” Sister Nyanzira explained.
Here at Don Bosco Muhazi Technical and Vocational Training School, there are a variety of young people with a variety of challenges.
However, after help with vocational training and technical education and despite all life challenges, you find that what might be a challenge can become a torch that lights the right path for such young people in a way that makes them to be able to improve their own living standards and to find solutions to the challenges facing society in general.
Uwizeyimana Lenatha, an 18 years old girl has completed two years in tailoring trade and currently practices her tailoring profession in Bukure, Gicumbi district.
She says that although she used to face challenges during her studies due to family poverty, she has started reaping the fruits from the resilient life that helped her to beat all that was to discourage her on the journey of knowledge acquisition.
“I do not regret the challenging time that I had in my quest for knowledge. I remember how I had to cross Lake Muhazi everyday coming to school to get knowledge. Now I have a job as a tailor and I can earn a living.” Ms. Uwizeyimana said.
She added that she plans to set up a large workshop and provide employment to unemployed youth and expand her business in other sectors of Gicumbi District which is located in the Northern Province of Rwanda.
These young people when you talk to them tell you that their education would not have been easy if they did not have the opportunity to get a school that cares for the poor.
On the other hand, the stressful life that most of the young people have lived before coming to school has led them to concentrate much on their studies so that they are becoming who they want to be.
Ingabire Olivier, 22 years old is now employing 4 young people in her Hairdressing Salon. Ingabire completed Culinary Arts courses at Don Bosco Muhazi TVET School. When the time came for the Internship, he went to one of the Hotels in Rwamagana District, Eastern Province of Rwanda.
When he and others completed the Internship, the manager of the Hotel decided to employ him because of his quality work.
He said that the secret to getting employment is the discipline and hard work which are some of the qualities of the students who graduate at Don Bosco Muhazi TVET School.
“Of course, challenges exist, but there are ways to deal with them.” He said.
“When I got employment, I started to save money and later created my own hairdressing salon where I employ 4 young people. 2 girls and 2 boys. Every week they give me Rwf 20,000 and we agreed they should pay themselves and make sure that every week they gave me that amount of money.” Ingabire explains.
He said that the idea to start his hairdressing salon was boosted by the entrepreneurship sessions that were offered to them before completing their studies.
“Now, my goal is to also create an Alimentation Business.” Mr. Ingabire added.
According to Mr. Jean d’Amour in charge of the Job Service Office at the School, the recent statistics showed that more than 90% of the graduates of the vocational studies at Don Bosco Muhazi TVET School have a job and are satisfied with it.
The Job Service Office is a structure within the Salesian TVET Centre which was established as the fruit of the long experience of the Salesians of Don Bosco in the TVET World. It is a powerful instrument for an effective TVET development process to ensure training objectives meet placement objectives.
Apart from testimony from these young people, Father Raymond Bavumiragiye, the Director of Don Bosco Muhazi and Provincial Vicar attests to the fact that being polite and guided by Christians values are pillars that help them change the course of their lives towards the improved livelihoods whether at family level or personal level.
Father Bavumiragiye commends all the donors who always give themselves to make sure that Vulnerable Young people are receiving quality education to prepare them for their future.