Across the world, growing numbers of youth live disconnected from most of society, struggling to survive and make a better future. They are vulnerable to poverty, illness, and exploitation. Searching for security, they undertake dangerous journeys as migrants. They become targets for extremist and criminal organizations. Their struggles grow from deep needs for personal connection, community, and hope.
In Rwanda, a team of young leaders has responded by empowering vulnerable youth in an inclusive, engaged, and entrepreneurial community. Growing up witnessing genocide, these young leaders know the consequences of losing connection and being abandoned by the world. They are showing us a way to build a more hopeful future for all :
“Rungano-Ndota” Initiative : A “Dream Generation” in Rwanda
A model to empower vulnerable youth across Rwanda – and beyond !
Mentoring by “Near Peer” Leadership Team : Home Visits ; Individual Mentoring ; Group Mentoring
Experiential Leadership Development : 16 Rungano Days a year - some with field trips or service projects – on topics such as community development, entrepreneurship, public speaking, networking, gender and faith diversity, healthy lifestyles, balancing development and cultural traditions, environmental protection ; Plus Leadership Exchange with Delegates from USA
Community Service : Projects like building shelters,kitchen gardens and toilets for the needy or assisting genocide survivors ; "Umuganda" service with local officials
Income and Livelihoods : Financial Savings Circles ; Business Plan Bootcamps ; Cooperative Businesses ; Trade School Scholarships ; Individual Entrepreneurship ; Loan Fund For Individuals ; Startup Grants for Cooperatives
Shared Commitment : Lifetime membership in Rungano-Ndota ; Rungano businesses give 5% of profits back to Initiative
Partnerships Make It Possible
The Leadership Team from the community founded the Initiative and operates it as staff and volunteers.
Benimpuhwe (“Compassion”) Organization, a Rwandan NGO empowering women and youth for more than three decades, has become the Initiative’s home and provides administration, grantwriting, advocacy, and guidance.
National Youth Council and Local Officials in Ruhango District identify vulnerable youth to participate in the Initiative and provide space for program activities at the town’s Youth Friendly Center.
Rwanda Youth Partnership – works with Rungano-Ndota to provide technical assistance, engage individual donor support, and bring delegates for the annual Leadership Exchange program.