The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Veterans Get Life Skills

The Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) last Friday passed out dozens of demobilised soldiers who had completed vocational training at various vocational schools in the country.

The event in Kigali was presided over by the chairman of RDRC Jean Sayinzoga.

During the pass out, the demobilised also received starter toolkits from the RDRC to enable them to start up businesses that go in line with what they have been trained in.

"Do not sell the tools we are giving you. These will give you a starting point in any career you are going to pursue. It is more than most people have when they start. We are here to ensure that you will not start from scratch! " the commissioner in charge of demobilised soldiers in Kigali, Brigadier General John Peter Bagabo told the former combatants.

The tools included trowels, brick laying equipment, and carpentry equipment among others estimated at Rwf91 million. The recipients numbering 702 former service men were trained in electronics, plumbing, welding, building and hair dressing among others.

George Gendaneza, the head teacher of APAFORME vocational school, commended RDRC for its continued support of the former soldiers when they went through his school for training.

"My school has so far trained 300 demobilised soldiers and I will not hesitate in saying that the ones I have worked with are all diligent in their effort to get a better life. I am glad that the RDRC is helping to make their dreams a reality." he said.

Laurence Mukantwari, a former rebel who was demobilised in 2002, passed highly and is now a certified mechanic. She says she was a chauffeur but now she has gained the skills to repair the cars she drives.

"I am now going to work until I can work no more in my old age. I no longer have an excuse," she asserted.

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