Above: A cake specially designed for the launch.
A Training of Trainers workshop was held in Kigali from 22nd to 31st July 2019, and over these ten days brought together 30 teachers from Catholic Schools across the Archdiocese of Kigali. The purpose of the workshop was to allow participants to express themselves in regards to vexing challenges the youth are facing in Rwanda, particularly HIV and AIDS pandemic, early pregnancies and drug abuse. It was also held to urge them to join hands for positive solutions, once back to their respective schools and communities.
As highlighted by Fr. Elphège Quenum SJ., Director of AJAN, AHAPPY Generation Programme for Youth is rooted in the tradition of the Ignatian Pedagogy which promotes integral development of a human being. During the launch, Fr. Patrice Ndayisenga SJ., Director of Jesuit Urumuri Centre (JUC) emphasized that AHAPPY Generation Programme lands in Rwanda at the right time as the young generation, particularly those between 10-24 years old, need to be educated on how to live happy lives free from the torment of HIV and AIDS. He added that Jesuit Community around, through JUC, shall aspire to give the youth hope for the future.
The Programme will operate in catholic schools around the Archdiocese of Kigali initially and will consequently spread to other schools in other Dioceses across Rwanda. He observed that there is a need to expand and strengthen this Programme in Rwanda, because Education is among the duties of the Catholic Church, and especially for the Jesuits (Companion of Jesus).
“Education is a priority for Jesuits”, Fr. Patrice Ndayisenga, SJ.
The Director of African Jesuit Network (AJAN) and Patron of AHAPPY Programme in Africa, Fr. Elphège Quenum, on the other hand, has highlighted that growing, day in day out, in different countries where the Catholic Church is found is paramount for AHAPPY.
In his address, Mgr. Casmir Ufitukumiza, Vicar of the Archbishop of Kigali, said that special emphasis must be put on the family, because it is the foundation of the church and without it the mission of the church would be hard to accomplish. “The family is a composition of both parents and children but special attention must be paid to children who are mostly victims of deadly illnesses such as HIV and AIDS and related illnesses, and other problems that impede the progress and wellness of many families in the world. There is a great need to listen to children”, he stressed.
He appealed to parents, teachers, church and the whole community to listen to children and help to solve their problems because children need parents’ and teachers’ guidance from early childhood. After the Closing Holy Mass, Mgr. Casmir Ufitumukiza, officially launched AHAPPY Generation Programme for Youth by cutting the cake that was prepared for this happy event.