Building libraries and jobs for youth in Rwanda

May 14, 2016  |  General

Members of Coperative Tuzamurane with Grace Rwanda’s president Paul Johnson at the Bugesera library build.


With our recent move to Rwanda, we’re now making huge strides in fulfilling our goal of setting up community libraries in each of the country’s 21 major sectors. And we’re doing it in partnership with youth who need employment.

Last month we completed the installation of the Kimisagara community youth library. It’s stocked with books are we’re excited to formally launch it with a community and school celebration in partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of Youth and Information and Communications Technology. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting event!

This month, we’ve been working on setting up our next library in Bugesera. We’ve completed the painting and are now working with youth who have graduated from the Iwawa Youth Rehabilitation Centre (a facility for former street youth where they learned trade skills) to build the shelves, tables and desks to furnish the new library.

These youth, who have formed a 35-member carpentry co-op called Coperative Tuzamurane with the help of a government grant, are doing incredible work, turning their lives around and becoming leaders in their community while earning a living. Some of these young men were former orphans, drug users or involved in petty crime. They are now fathers, peer mentors and entrepreneurs.

“Hearing their stories is very encouraging,” says Grace Rwanda co-founder Elizabeth Johnson. “They are now helping those who are still on the street encouraging them to join the cooperative and change for a better and bright future.”

To help support them, we hope to include their work in our next youth centre library in Iwawa and perhaps all of our upcoming libraries. In the meantime, we helped the young men in this coop celebrate their first anniversary of their business with a party and some cake. We donated some soccer balls and jerseys to the group in thanks.

It’s been a rewarding and inspiring few months in Rwanda, with lots to show for our efforts. Thank you again for all your support which is making our mission of literacy possible.

You can get regular updates on our work by following @GraceRwanda, liking us on Facebook, adding us in your Google+ circle, and watching our videos on YouTube.

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