I absolutely enjoyed listening to this young fellow from Rwanda-home to one of the cleanest city in Africa, Kigali. He is confident, down to earth and charming too. I present to you Innocent Rugema, a YALI Alumni. Innocent is the founder of Fill The Gap Initiative. He trains and mentors youths, links them to opportunities from other areas other than the capital city.
Tell me what you like about your country…
“My name is Innocent Rugema, a banking student in Rwanda. I am also an ambassador of Bridge the Divide in Rwanda, an American Initiative aiming to bring unity, peace and reconciliation to divided parties. Memorial sites in Rwanda enable young people to have a picture of what really happened in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. We as young people therefore, get to see where we came from and what we went through. I get courage to struggle for the best of my country and Africa at large.
I like the historical sites that show the memory of the Rwanda genocide- a mass slaughter of the Tutsi during the Rwanda civil war. Rwanda is a country endowed with a bitter past, but, is filled with beautiful hills, springs, cultural sites and wildlife that preserve its beauty. Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre, is a house that shows the history of our beloved brethren who died in the 1994 genocide.
Gisozi Genocide memorial centre
“We have Virunga National Park, in the northern, which hosts between 10,000- 20,000 tourists. Every year we host events for naming new born gorillas. They are named according the season they were born. For example, those born between April-July are named “Peace”.
“Lake Kivu is also a beautiful site to uphold.
Your talents …
“I like playing basketball. Practice Kung-fu and Karate. Surprisingly, I can pray for 3 hours non- stop.
Challenges facing youths in your country…
“Youths in rural areas do not know what is happening in the world because they are technologically disadvantaged. It is because of this, that I have started an initiative that will give a long lasting solution to the challenge of education and technology.
“Lots of youths are graduating from university and the rate of unemployment is rising rapidly. I believe that youths need to use their unique gifts and talents to curb the unemployment menace. They need to create opportunities for themselves.
“There is a campaign dubbed “Made in Rwanda” designed to encourage people to use locally made products instead of importing the products.
“There is instability from the southern region triggered by our Burundi neighbours. Some of the people displaced during the genocide, living outside the country come to cause chaos.
Youths and volunteering…
“I like volunteering, although I have noticed that many youths don’t value it. I started volunteering when I cleared high school. When I started volunteering, I got the opportunity to invite 35 other youths to work with me but only 10 youths turned up for the offer. The fact that volunteers don’t get paid turns them off. What they do not know is that the skills, exposure and experience they get is free.
“You and books…
“My best and favourite book is the bible. I have read the bible 3 times -Old and New Testament. I have read the bible in two languages; English and French.
“The other book that I have read is an inspirational one called “Painful Tears” by Wairimu Kibugi.
Words of encouragement…
“You need to know that there is something in you that the world needs.
“Isaiah 41:10 New International Version (NIV), says
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
“Keep going. Never give up. Never be discouraged by the trials of the world.
“Always be proud of yourself and your country.
If you were not doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?
“I would be a soldier.