Since 2014, when it opened its permanent center in Kigali, Rwanda, MindLeaps has witnessed amazing transformations. Kids have left street life forever and now excel in school after reintegration. Vulnerable in-school kids have a renewed interest in learning and their academic performance has steadily improved.
MindLeaps has also sponsored youth who chose to pursue TVET/vocational training education, which is currently encouraged in Rwanda. After completing a full year of training, 20 young people have graduated in fields of their choice: 7 in hairdressing, 7 in culinary arts, and 6 in tailoring. Among these graduates, 3 have secured full-time jobs after their internship period. Marius, one of these recent graduates, told us that “During my internship at Tam Tam restaurant in Kigali, I used my culinary skills, grit, creativity and teamwork to improve customer satisfaction. After my internship, the restaurant manager immediately gave me a full-time job. I was thrilled at this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing my work.”
On June 27, 2019, MindLeaps held a ceremony to distribute startup toolkits to graduates, to equip them with the basics needed to begin work in their fields. Parents and local leaders from the Nyarugenge district also participated in this event. District leaders included: Dodos Ndabaramiye, Startup Development Officer, Jean Damascene Niyonzima, Investment Promotion Officer, and Diane Mukarukundo, Nyakabanda Sector Business Development Officer. They led the handing out of the toolkits.
Graduates were overjoyed to receive their toolkits. Samuel, who spoke on behalf of all the graduates, said, “We are so thankful for the continued support of MindLeaps in the transformation of our lives. We now have the skills and basic tools that can help us shape a brighter future. We will make the best use of your investment to develop ourselves, our families and our nation.”
On behalf of the local leaders, Jean Damascene applauded the MindLeaps mission to support vulnerable youth, and encouraged graduates to put into action what they had learned to advance themselves and their communities. He said that Rwanda looks forward to the contribution of its young people in national transformation and development. Jean Damascene also promised the district’s support in training and guidance.