Rugunga Cell has a population of 12,000. It sits on forested hills in the Eastern Province, looking down on Nyabarongo wetlands and Kigali City in the distance. It’s recorded that the area of Bugesera lost half its population during the massacres of the 1994 Genocide Against Tutsi.

This is one of the poorest rural areas of Rwanda. 30% of the population are living in extreme poverty.

Villagers survive by subsistence farming on poor quality soil and historically Bugesera district is one of Rwanda’s worst areas for severe annual droughts.

PF assessment meetings with District & Local Government Authorities and the Rugunga communities revealed the priority is providing opportunities for their youth to gain income earning skills. This would be the best way to begin improving the social & economic welfare of their income poor villages.

Giving all youth access to employment skills is a key element in tackling poverty in Rwanda. Investing in Technical & Vocational Education Training (TVET) is a vital driver of economic growth.

Mwogo has high unemployment & lack of income generating activities. Thousands of children & youth are growing up with no hope or opportunity to get work or jobs. Communities are facing a crisis.

PF have partnered with the Ubumwe Community Centre (UCC), a Rwandan NGO with years of experience in managing Vocational Training for vulnerable youth & will guide this programme knowledgably.

With agreement from District & Local Government Authorities and residents of the local communities, suitable premises for the TVET centre were chosen in Rugunga Cell.

PF funding refurbished the complex, built toilets & rebuilt the kitchen, all to district approved standards. A rainwater tank, all classroom equipment, chairs and desks were also funded.

Mwogo Vocational Centre opened in Jan 2018 with its first intake of 45 students. The Centre aims to promote gender equality, inclusion of the socially vulnerable & those with special needs and disabilities.

Courses run for 1 year, finishing with exams & internships. Liaising with the Rwanda Workforce Development Authority ensures teachers and graduation certificates are of a nationally accredited standard.

Two vocational courses run alongside each other: Tailoring and Hair & Beauty. Tailoring, design & sewing repair skills are a valued profession now Rwanda is boosting its own textile production.

The Hair & Beauty industry is advancing in Rwanda due to increased tourism. Those with qualifications will find it easier to gain jobs in hotels & salons or set up small local businesses.

Students are provided with daily lunches. Included in lessons are family planning, nutrition advice, environmental awareness education and sport activities. Graduates receive extra business management modules.

The Centre holds free literacy classes for villagers after school hours or at weekends. Many attending are parents of students wishing to improve their own poor education, or youth hoping to become future students.

By working together, Point Foundation, Ubumwe Community Centre & private donors like the Holtzman family are helping Mwogo’s neglected youth step forward on their journey out of poverty & inspiring others to follow.

The Mwogo Development Plan is a vision to regenerate a community over the next 10 years, investing in vocational training, early education, better healthcare and improved social welfare.