During this first quarter of 2023, Jesuit Urumuri Centre officially launched the youth empowerment program. The program is meant to take university and high school graduates through social innovation and entrepreneurship training. The training which will be facilitated by the Business Development Centre – BDC Rwanda, will take six months, after which selected beneficiaries with the best business proposals will be accompanied through a 3 month incubation process. Following this, selected beneficiaries will be assisted to set up businesses. The program is expected to produce entrepreneurs who will create jobs for themselves and at least 4 of their peers each in their communities.
This launch was preceded by the first phase of the program in 2020 during which a first group of beneficiaries were taken through a similar process and are currently successfully running their own businesses.
The youth empowerment program launch for 2023 was attended by JUC director Fr Ernest Ngiyembere, SJ, BDC Country Operations Director Dr Patrice Habinshuti, BDC master trainer Mr Anaclet Bagirishya and beneficiaries of the program consisting Rwandan youth, Burundian refugee youth and a Nigerian national.
Fr Ernest while delivering his opening remarks spoke about the Society of Jesus particularly and emphasized the concern that the Jesuits have for the youth and their futures; “One of the concerns we have, especially as a centre for social justice, is that the biggest population in Rwanda are the youth, and they are jobless. The Jesuit family pondered on how best this can be addressed and we decided to accompany those who wish to do business because potentially more jobs are created. We came to the realization that there are plenty of such individuals but they lack the information, training and guidance to achieve those goals. This training therefore will equip you with business skills so that you may create employment for yourself and for others”.
Fr Ernest concluded his remarks by saying that his greatest wish is to eventually receive testimonies about successful entrepreneurship stories and the number of people that will have benefited from this program.
Dr Patrice then gave orientation where he spoke to the group about strategies that will be used to facilitate training; “During this training, you will see what is known as action learning, we will have practical activities, we will play games, we will have fun, you will do practical assignments at home and make presentations during class”.
Mr Anaclet also had a few remarks to share with the youth as he will be the lead trainer of the program. Mr Anaclet spoke about the fact that as a centre owned by Jesuits, JUC incorporates teachings of the Catholic Church in all its activities; “I want you to understand the term “kingdom business” because our businesses will not be ordinary. This means you have to keep in mind that you’re creating sources of income not only for yourselves, but other people must also benefit from your creations as well, thereby positively transforming the society”.
The launch day ended with facilitators and beneficiaries discussing days on which to conduct training sessions and they landed on two days a week at JUC premises.
JUC Communication Officer