Joseph Mugenzi is a 24 years old person who was born, raised and living in Nganda cell, Musaza sector, Kirehe district in the western province of Rwanda. Joseph is the third born in a family of six kids and he lives with his parents. He went to school at Groupe Scolaire Gacuba for his primary studies and later attended Rusumo High school to finish his secondary studies: Due to lack of funds or other means Joseph never had a chance to continue his university studies.
In September 2015, Joseph was invited to attend the youth champions trainings, these trainings are meant to empower young people from different communities around the country with leadership, public speaking, advocacy and project management skills.
“I remember that it was around 10:00 am when I received a phone call from our district youth officer asking me if I am interested in attending a youth training at the Kigali genocide memorial. He didn’t specify what the trainings were all about but I immediately accepted because since my young age I always dreamed to visit the memorial.” Joseph explained. Later on he was contacted by one of The Aegis Trusts’ staff members and briefed on the trainings: “ I learnt a lot in the youth champions training than I expected, I didn’t know anything about peace building but I got to learn what peace is and my role in peace building” Joseph said.
The youth champions program is designed in a way that after the young people complete their training, they go back to their communities and start peace building project through which they can practice what they learnt and gain more knowledge.
After the trainings Joseph went back home and wrote a project proposal that he submitted to The Aegis Trust. Even before receiving funds for his project he went ahead and started reaching out to his community.
“Just one week after the trainings I was invited to a meeting of heads of villages and I requested for some minutes to tell them what I’d learnt from the trainings, I talked for 30 minutes and they liked it so much that they invited me in other meetings.” Joseph declared. He also started organizing public talks and discussion in schools and community halls with the youth and elders in the community.
“I loved sharing my experience and engaging others in discussions but I came to realize that I need more knowledge about the history of my country because there were so many questions that kids could ask me that I could not respond to. That’s how I came with an idea of coming back to the Kigali Genocide Memorial to learn more about the history of genocide” Joseph said. With the help of his fellow youth champions in his community, He started planning the community group visit to the memorial.
the trip was organised for the 16 March 2016 where over 200 people had signed up.
“To me the memorial is a learning center which not only teaches about the history but also guides us on how to prepare for our future. I am very thankful to The Aegis Trust for empowering me and helping me to discover the potential that I have in me. I urge the young people in this country to be more dynamic and curious about what is going around them. For example I didn’t know anything about peace building or even the history of genocide before I was trained but now I know a lot of things and I even teach others…” Joseph stated.