Successful conclusion of the first agricultural course at the Don Bosco school in Muhazi for young mothers

The  Gender issues applied to agriculture project has borne fruit at the Don Bosco School of Technical and Vocational Education in Muhazi, Rwanda, with the graduation of the first class of 21 young mothers in vulnerable situations. For six months the girls participated in a short agriculture course, finally receiving a tool kit and learning to produce soap and tofu to sell.

The graduation ceremony for the young single mothers who participated in the project was attended by Fr Raymond Bavumiragiye, Director of the Salesian technical-vocational institute, Sister Leocadie Nyanzira, Head of Gender Affairs, Aurore Niyitanga, and the Head of Labour Services, Jules Sugira.

The beneficiaries of the project, now graduates, participated in the course for six months. They are all young single mothers, mainly from the rural area of the districts of Gasabo and Gicumbi, and live in situations of great vulnerability. Thanks to the project, they were also able to carry out an internship at the end of the studies to verify the results of what they learned in theory.

Thanks to the sponsorship formula, which allowed many of them to participate in the project, they had the opportunity to meet mentors and trainers in the creation of companies and cooperatives. One of the objectives of the course was to ensure that young mothers learned not to depend on a single activity, so as to diversify and expand their skills and possibilities for employment or self-maintenance. They also practised producing soap alone, making bags and cooking tofu to sell. At the end of the course they received a tool kit to continue their work, both on farms and in the fields with agricultural tools.

"I want to thank all our benefactors, because it is thanks to their help that I have been able to acquire skills; now I am ready to put into practice what I have learned, wherever it is in Rwanda, and thanks to the pay I will receive I will be able to support my child and my brothers and sisters who depend on me," Rachel, one of the young participants of the course, testified on the sidelines of the ceremony, still excited.

Another collegeau, Florence, is grateful for the project because it was an effective response to her problems. “Because I'm poor, I used to ask people to rent me their fields, but I always ended up giving up because of the lack of proper skills. Now I am very happy with this experience, because for the first time I feel sure of what I can do, thanks to what I have learned".

In his speech to the graduates, Fr Bavumiragiye asked them to use "the skills acquired with the aim of producing results to protect themselves from those who take advantage of them and eventually abandon them". And he also advised younger mothers "to go back to school to learn other professions and thus improve their well-being."

After this first class of new graduates, a second class with other girls and women in vulnerable situations is already underway, as envisaged by the project, with the aim of increasingly promoting gender equality and eradicating poverty among young women.

Source: ANS