11 August 2012

Rwanda: Imbuto Foundation - 10 Years of Changing Lives

For the last decade Imbuto Foundation has provided education scholarships to 6,000 students, and rewarded 5,000 girls for outstanding performance in national exams, officials from the organisation said.

The organisation has also provided direct support to 218,500 beneficiaries with 200,000 of them receiving health insurance, Mutuelle de Sante.

During celebrations to mark the charity organisation's 10 year anniversary it was also revealed that Imbuto Foundation has also helped 355 vulnerable families set up income-generating activities to lift themselves out of poverty.

While another 7,500 beneficiaries have participated in the organisation's youth forum series.

Honoree Muhabwimana, one of the beneficiaries from Musanze District, hailed Imbuto for supporting her through difficult times after she was diagnosed with HIV/Aids.

"I joined the Family Package of Imbuto Foundation after living a desperate life. I am now healthy and living a better life after getting comprehensive care consisting of counselling and psychosocial support."

Thursday evening was a time to celebrate ten years of engaging, educating and empowering the youth and Rwandan families.

The organisation, founded by the First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, started with a belief in the right to equal opportunity and a dignified life, its leaders said.

Initially known as Protection and Care of Families against HIV/Aids (Pacfa), the organisation changed to Imbuto Foundation five years after its establishment, with additional programmes.

"Imbuto" is a Kinyarwanda word for "seed"

Speaking at the colourful event, Mrs Kagame hailed everybody who supported and inspired Imbuto Foundation's Journey which she said was an exciting expedition.

"We have grown from strength to strength during these last 10 years and this gift, ability to grow and blossom was patiently and consciously inspired by all of you whom I consider as the friends of Imbuto Foundation," she stated.

"We thank the people who have believed in us, worked and supported us throughout this exciting journey. You never gave up hope and lowered your aspirations."

Mrs Kagame said; "You kept aiming higher and demanding more and you realised that every journey begins with the first step. We are grateful and privileged to have had your invaluable inputs from what I call the conception and the delivery of PACFA to its joyous rebirth of Imbuto Foundation."

The First Lady noted that the true results will be achieved in the years to come when the children who have been educated, engaged and empowered by Imbuto grow from seeds into fruits.

"Our ultimate satisfaction comes when we stand with dignified young Rwandans together with their compatriots to form a strong and proud nation Rwanda."

Mrs Kagame highlighted the birth and the journey of Imbuto Foundation since 2001.

" I remember in 2001 I teamed up with key national and international partners to consult on what part I could play in the fight against HIV/Aids because by that time the incidence of HIV was very high at around 15 percent."

She said the partnership grew strong through working with all the stakeholders like the education sector, local leaders, brilliant girls and boys from disadvantaged families who lacked the means to complete their education and eventually were sponsored by Imbuto.

"If we are going to strive for the nation of empowered and dignified young Rwandans we have to start with making sure that the seeds we plant are well nourished through coaching, mentoring and good parenting," she said.

"The willingness to work with us is humbling and encouraging, my heartfelt appreciation goes to the beneficiaries of our programmes who inspired us daily and we are happy to have had beneficiaries who assured us that what we are doing is great."

"It's watching you that gives us the most inspiration and assurances that you are on the right track."

"The road may be tough as we progress but the years behind us have enriched, motivated and showed us that it is possible with faith, passion and perseverance and they have taught us that with true partnerships we can accomplish much and they have certainly fortified our resolve to make the last impact."

The high level function was graced by senior government officials, the youth, business community and some of the foundation's beneficiaries.

Diana L. Ofwona, the Regional Representative UN Women Office for Central Africa, said, "Our partners have been privileged and feel very honoured to have walked this walk with PACFA and Imbuto Foundation for the past decade and we thank you First Lady for this initiative."

Ofwona gave an account of how Mrs Kagame outlined her vision of fighting against the HIV/ Aids scourge in 2001 before starting PACFA and later Imbuto Foundation.

At the event the guests were treated to a thrilling performance from Mashirika Arts.

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