By: Ndoli Mark
Today (12th/ August/ 2016) was the international day of youth. Fortunately, I got a chance to attend one of the most life changing conference/ event-organized by NEVER AGAIN RWANDA at Umubano Hotel. So I am basically going to be sharing a few of the experiences that I had during the time there.
Getting into the room, I was ushered to the front column, where fellow youth and peers were. I actually didn’t understand the sitting arrangement till, while looking around the room, I noticed the officials in the back columns (an illustration of the opportunity and space we’re being given by our leaders to develop leadership skills before we go into the fields – remember that actions speak louder than words).
At the start of the event, Dr. Joseph shared with us his touching and inspiring personal story. He started from his family farming background, out of which he dreamed to be a great farmer, thus started rearing rabbits in primary four, which brought up a saving culture in him – this was the core lesson! Getting into college, his saving culture grew bigger, which made him start to lend money to peers who repaid back with minimal interests. This led to the phrase that I shall certainly never forget, where he challenged us “Think whether you want to be he who helps, or he who seeks for help!”
One the most unique part of this event was that there wasn’t a so-called guest of honor’s speech, but rather a dialogue platform for youth. This wasn’t only started by people talking to one another, but rather a motivation video themed “GO FOR IT”, where various young entrepreneurs inspired fellow peers. This made all the attendees to ask and answer one another’s question (again, this showed that ,we youth, have the same and exact solutions to the challenges and problems we want have, we just need to learn how to cooperate).
Furthermore, with various topics we discussed amongst ourselves, the Business Development Fund (BDF) representative was also given an opportunity to deliver a speech about youth grants and loans, remember that we’re to get ourselves out of this unemployment, which was followed by many challenging questions. Remember this part of the ceremony was crucial since this year’s theme was “THE ROLE OF YOUTH IN POVERTY ALLEVIATION AND ACHIEVING SUSTAINABILITY.”
I wouldn’t state it all here but the closing remarks by Mr. Albert Nzamukwereka, reminded us in the importance of such conferences which is the opportunity to grab some knowledge from one another. He also emphasized on the point of having a saving culture and trying to find a mentor in whatever you do. Another point was the importance of networking in order to have the right connections which are needed for our start-ups. We continued our discussion at the cocktail networking session, organised after the conference.
At the time I got a chance to talk to various people that I have forever been dreaming to talk to, for instance Dr. Joseph himself. The various lessons of saving, and bringing change in our societies, accompanied by the networking session made me get to interact with the kind of people with the same energetic spirit and booking ideas. This is why I should admit, the fact that “This has not been the first international youth day celebrates since I was born, but I am certainly sure that this is the first day of it, that I was in the perfect place to do the right thing and the right time!”