Over the last few months ASYV has been catching up with their graduates. Read on to find out what some of them are doing!
The beginning of this year marked our 4th graduating class from Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village who went to join the ranks of our alumni, making their numbers grow to nearly 500. Over the last few months, ASYV management team travelled across the country to meet graduates and find out what they have been up to since leaving ASYV. Meeting in different locations across the four provinces of the country, the ASYV management team spoke with 180 graduates from all Urumuli, Imbuto, Indatwa and Ingenzi grades.
Alumni were thrilled to be visited by ASYV management and were also very excited to be introduced to The Village Director, Vincent, who started at ASYV earlier this year. The mood was one of joy as graduates caught up with each other and staff members. In one meeting in Kigali, the Executive Director JC spoke about the importance of keeping a connection with alumni, “Even though you have left ASYV’s gates, you will never leave the ASYV family. We hope you maintain the bonds that were formed in The Village throughout your lives and you are always welcome to come back and visit.”
ASYV management were amazed to see the progress of our graduates. Over 80% of our graduates have managed to secure places at University, most of them with full or partial scholarships. Cyprien, an Urumuli graduate, is now studying crop science at the University Rwanda Huye Campus, in Southern Rwanda. During an interview he commented, "Before coming to ASYV, I was not particularly interested in education. I felt that once I had finished senior 6, that would be the end of school for me. But ASYVs programs together with their philosophy of giving back encouraged me to study agriculture at university and to create positive social impact. Without farmers and other experts in the field, who will help feed our nation?"
We were also extremely proud to see how invested ASYV graduates are in continuing the philosophy of The Village. In Butare, Southern Rwanda, ASYV graduates are continuing the tradition of “family time” amongst themselves by meeting every other Saturday to discuss and catch up. What was also outstanding was the commitment of the ASYV graduates in continuing paying it forward and following the values of Tikkun Olam. Amongst the 180 graduates, ASYV management spoke to, well over half were involved in regular monthly volunteering activities ranging from volunteering at local health clinics to providing support to poor neighbours. Jeanette, a graduate from Imbuto, commented on this: “ASYV also taught us about Tikkun Olam. After leaving the Village I spent a lot of time teaching English to community members of all ages without asking for any compensation. Helping others makes me feel good because not only am I giving back to society, I am also encouraging others to do the same."
Graduates spoke about the continued importance of ASYV in their lives. Jeanette continued, "I was so shy and unconfident before arriving in the Village. I could barely say a word at school or even during family time and my English was terrible. The combination of formal and informal education in a loving family oriented environment gradually helped me to feel safe and even empowered.”
Graduates wanting to maintain a connection were happy to hear about the introduction of a new mentorship scheme that will allow alumni to return to ASYV and mentor a current student through their time in The Village.
Watch this space for more details!