Home NewsNational President Kagame Commends Role of Youth Volunteers In National Development, Promises More Support

President Kagame Commends Role of Youth Volunteers In National Development, Promises More Support

by Edmund Kagire
5:21 pm

President Kagame said voluntary youth services has had invaluable impact on the country over the past 10 years or so.

President Paul Kagame says young people who have sacrificed themselves to become volunteers in different national programmes have contributed greatly to the nation’s development, promising that the government will do more to support them.

The Head of State made the observation on Tuesday at BK Arena while addressing more than 7,500 youth volunteers from across the country to mark 10 years since the national voluntary service was established.

Speaking at the vibrant event themed “sustaining the legacy”, the Head of State said that the contribution of the over 1.9 million youth who have contributed to national voluntary service cannot be underestimated, adding that the government will ensure that those in the service get the basic minimum requirements.

President Kagame however said that it starts with what the young people can offer or show to be capable of doing, as they have in the past, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn prompts the government and other partners to chip in upon understanding the value and importance.

“We want you to go beyond what you have done today and even use the opportunity to connect, know each other more and tap into the different capabilities each one of you has. There is a lot more you can do together,” President Kagame said.

The Head of State said the government will do what it can within its means to support the work of youth volunteers.

“This country is not for individuals or a specific group. It is for all of us. We share it. When we put our efforts together, when we work together, we are striving for the development of our nation and our collective development as a people,”

President Kagame said that Rwandan youth coming together to take on national development causes proves that there is nothing impossible when people come together, pointing out that they were able to do what they did without any remuneration.

“That is why we want to keep this culture of working together. There is nothing more solid than a country that has a force of more than 2 million young people willing to do whatever it takes to develop their country without any other motivation, doing it as though it is their own. It is invaluable,” President Kagame said.

“There is no one person who can work alone in their own way to develop our people or our country. There is no single person who can do everything alone to benefit other people if they don’t work together. The fact that you accepted to sacrifice yourself, it’s just a reminder of our existing tradition of self-sacrifice,”

“You demonstrated that during Covid-19, as youth volunteers, and it helped a lot in our fight against that pandemic. We would not have succeeded in our fight against Covid-19 without the important role you played.” President Kagame.

Over 7,500 youth volunteers from across the country packed BK Arena.

The Head of State reminded young people that they have to focus on doing the right thing in whatever they do and to sacrifice themselves for the good of others, and in turn they will be rewarded.

He pointed out that this shows that the youth are not looking up to anyone to save their country but rather have taken up the responsibility to take on challenges head-on, promising that the government will find resources to ensure that the youth continue to serve the country in that capacity.

He further encouraged them to continue sharpening their skills and knowledge even as they volunteer for national services, to acquire employment or start their own income generating projects, reminding them that the world is full of opportunities.

“You must study and excel in what you do, know what you want and become fearless to go after it,” he said.

The Head of State reiterated the importance of conduct and discipline, which also plays into knowing what you want, telling young people that even God rewards those who work.

President Kagame held an interative session with the youth.

“You must not sit back and look up to the government to come to your rescue because you are the government. What you do today to improve your lives can only just be complemented by the government but it is all up to you to be the difference you want to see,” he said.

The Head of State reminded young people that given the progress the country has made today; they have more opportunities than any other generation and they should take advantage of them, and that it starts now, not later.

“Where you have to put a lot of effort, where it all begins, the foundation of it all, is in building yourselves as individuals, each one of you. Build yourselves, and keep on that volunteerism spirit,”

“Your willingness alone is not enough; you have to build your capabilities and equip yourself with skills so that you can put into practice everything you are willing to do,” President Kagame said.

The Minister of Local Government, Claude Musabyimana, said that currently there are over 1.9m million youth volunteers and the number keeps growing every year.

“History shows us that national voluntary service is enshrined in our culture and traditions. This practice of people sacrificing themselves for national good had been there for centuries but the colonial governments and the ones that followed after did not do much to preserve it,” Minister Musabyimana said.

Apart from service during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Local Government minister said youth volunteers have contributed to other national programmes such as community policing, fighting stunting and malnutrition and coming in handy during national emergencies.

Minister Musabyimana said the youth have committed to carrying this legacy, including safeguarding and consolidating the gains.

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