Since June 2017 the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation supports the projects of the organization ‘Friends of Ruanda e.V.’ (FoR).  FoR promotes the development of continuing education programs in order to combat unemployment in Rubavu, Rwanda the border region to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Friends of Ruanda e.V. was founded in 2006 as an association of charitable and non-profit purposes. FoR is based in Bad Boll in Germany and works closely and in continuous exchange with local partner organizations in Rwanda. The developed projects contribute to the improvement of the elementary supply and living standards of the population in Rwanda. A long-term support of the entire Rubavu region is pursued, which has to face diverse challenges as a border area to the Congo. Youth unemployment is particularly high in this region and young people are therefore threatened to be exploited for military reasons. FoR has tasked itself with promoting sustainable measures in the areas of education, training and job creation to avert these threats. Besides the educational sector, further focus lies in the areas of water and energy, medical care and artistic development.

As early as in 2010 the FoR supported the construction of the ‘Competence Center for Small and Medium Entreprise’ (CCSME) in Gisenyi, Rubavu. The competence center is specialized in vocational training and programs in entrepreneurship, particularly for women and youth. The pursued objective of the project is to help young people escaping unemployment by offering new career prospects. Due to an overall lack of job opportunities self-employment represents a serious alternative for many people. At CCSME people can achieve advanced knowledge and educational programs about starting an own businesses.

Education programs on how to start a business

The current project of FoR, which is supported by the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation, consists of a two and a half-year training program for young unemployed people. In each training cycle 35 young people, of which the majority are women, have the opportunity to apply with their own business ideas. The provided training programs support young people to establish their own enterprises. Students can take part in a diverse workshop program, which is divided into different modules. Besides the workshops about business start-ups, modules for marketing strategies, modules for single-entry accounting and business management are offered. In addition, the participants learn how to develop a professional business plan based on their own business ideas. Afterwards all participants have the opportunity to present their ideas in a final competition. Afterwards the 20 best ideas will receive a starting capital to a maximum of 1,000 € in the form of a micro-loan. After the successful founding and development of the own enterprise the loan needs to be repaid and directly flows into the promotion of other projects. Most of the founded enterprises are hair saloons, tailoring, restaurants, brick-layer, lock-smithery and carpentry.

The main objective of the project is to make socially disadvantaged people competitive for the labor market through educational training programs and professional vocational training’s. Practical specialization and professional qualification are counteracting the high youth unemployment on the Rwandan labor market.

New buildings for Rubavu Technical College (RTC)

In a second project the construction of two new buildings for the secondary school is implemented in order to create necessary space for trainings. The technical institute facilitates the following subjects like car mechanics, car electronics and communication technics. The training activities are designed for three years and accumulate in an accredited level A2 certificate.

Successful candidate of the mechanics training. © Jean Bizimana

The Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation supports the projects of the Friends of Ruanda e.V. with a three-year funding. This is used for the workshops offered at the CCSME to ensure a competitive and qualitative training of the participants. In addition, the Foundation made the once off funding to provide the school with necessary technical equipment for the training of young people in Rubavu.

The Friends of Ruanda e.V. helps to provide qualified vocational training for young people from the Western Province of Rwanda. In addition, the participants will be accompanied and supported on the path to independence by means of starting an own business. The collaboration with ForR contributes to the fight against youth unemployment by a variety of programs that enhance the chances on the labor market.