According to data from the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 40 per cent of refugees in Rwanda are between the ages of 18-59, which is mostly the working-age population. But less than 5% of these refugees have access to self-employment or business opportunities. Less than 10% have access to paid employment. A large part of this population therefore remains unoccupied and is at risk of delinquency, drug-abuse and recruitment to armed groups.
Trades training contributes to the prevention of the risks mentioned above, the promotion of self-reliance and the socio-economic development of young people. Maison Shalom gives them skills that will enable them to live with dignity and develop both in exile and in their country of origin.
We are already working for true reconciliation so that young people do not return to Burundi with weapons in their hands as rebels and take revenge, but as peaceful patriots with skills to rebuild their country.
Young people are trained in various trades including culinary arts, cutting and sewing, masonry, plumbing, electricity, welding and car mechanics. They are also trained in entrepreneurship and receive financial support to start small businesses. Some training is provided at the Oasis of Peace Community Center in Kigali, others are offered at the Elite Center in Mahama Camp or in partner training centers.