The local chapter of Compassion International, a faith-based NGO, Tuesday rewarded five university students who excelled in various areas of human development under its Leadership Development Programme (LDP).
The programme identifies outstanding students and provides them with an opportunity to attend university and receive Christian leadership training to develop their intrinsic leadership skills.
Each LDP student is selected according to strict criteria, including academic achievement, Christian commitment, demonstrated leadership skills and a willingness to serve.
In total, 32 graduates sponsored by the organisation at various universities participated in the programme.
Emmanuel Kwizera, former president of the students leadership development programme, emerged the best and was rewarded for demonstrating outstanding leadership skills.
Emmanuel Bikorimana, who championed a campaign to build houses for the needy in different parts of the Eastern Province, was the second, while Egide Twahirwa, who emerged third, was honoured for effective communication and demonstrating a compassionate heart.
The fourth and five outstanding leaders were Esther Cyiza and Oreste Ihorindeba, respectively.
Thanking the organisation for its support, one of the beneficiaries, Ziade Rugarama, who graduated in Business Administration at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) narrated his ordeal to The New Times.
"My father abandoned my mother when she was pregnant. After my birth, she was killed in the 1994 Genocide. At the age of 10, I met my father for the first time as he shortly died of HIV/AIDS leaving a widow and children behind," he explained.
"I used some of my pocket money to pay school fees for my siblings," he added.
His maternal aunt, Marthe Mukamusoni, the only surviving relative, spoke of Rugarama's journey that has ultimately led him to dazzling academic heights.
Compassion International Country Director, John Nkubana, challenged the graduates to live to society's expectations pointing out that much had been invested in them.
"Everyone is anxiously waiting to see the outcome of their vested energy. Your loved ones expect you to reciprocate the gesture to your respective communities, country, and the world at large," implored Nkubana.
Under the LDP, the youth are provided with personal mentors to nurture them into leaders with a Christian worldview.
Compassion International currently reaches out to close to 65,000 children and youth in the country.