Empowering Rwanda's youth with professional education: A Partnership with Sangira – Friends of Rwanda

The Swiss NGO, Sangira – Friends of Rwanda, builds a strong foundation for professional education and training, in order to shape the lives and futures of young individuals in Rwanda. This year, we're collaborating to launch a pilot project to introduce our culinary education in Nyamasheke (Southwest Rwanda).

@Daniela Mares
Empowering Rwanda's youth with professional education: A Partnership with Sangira – Friends of Rwanda

Addressing social challenges in Rwanda

Rwanda is often referred to as the “Switzerland of Africa,” but the country faces social challenges, particularly in providing education and professional opportunities for its young population. The importance of this challenge becomes even more apparent when considering that 40% of Rwanda’s population is under 15 years of age.

The driving force behind the Sangira project is Jackie Helfenberger, who coordinates and plans the project with stakeholders. Thanks to Sangira’s work, 120 apprentices have already successfully completed their foundational training and are now starting internships in various hotels. 

Jackie Helfenberger

By collaborating with Sangira, we aim to facilitate the implementation of professional education with our vocational courses. They’re digital, flexible, scalable and available in English, which will help democratize this type of education, and make it more accessible for young Rwandans. Our collective mission will be to improve the lives of young, motivated individuals, who have been without access to education and professional opportunities.

On November 15th, we had the pleasure of participating in Sangira's press event in Zurich, where we announced our partnership alongside the screening of the inspiring documentary made by the Swiss broadcasting company SRF and filmed at the Sangira Vocational School in Rwanda. The film featured the first graduating class and their graduation ceremony, and highlighted the cultural and professional exchange between a group of Swiss apprentice bakers visiting Rwanda, and local Rwandans learning the trade.

Sangira will implement our blended learning approach, which combines the benefits of digital and in-person learning. The partnership with Sangira to offer our culinary education will help them train chefs to work in the gastronomy industry, something which we believe will not only benefit individuals’ lives, but also make an impact on businesses and improve the local economy.

"Sangira will implement our culinary courses at its vocational school in the Nyamasheke district," said Samuel Notz, our CEO. "This initiative not only grants apprentices access to high-quality learning content but also establishes a structured and transparent process supporting progress reporting for students, teachers, and even donors. It ensures continuity, when foreign teachers are exchanged during the midterm."

Samuel at Sangira's press event on November 15th

Democratizing education in Rwanda

Sangira's vocational school in Nyamasheke is currently in its third class, with 80 learners. Each class is trained for nine months, and receives theoretical and practical training at the school, followed by a three-month external internship.  

We can’t wait to introduce our education for the first time in Africa and receive the first feedbacks from the students. We see many opportunities in our partnership and hope to be able to offer more of our courses—Bakery, Pastry, Confectionery, Restaurant Service and Housekeeping—to Sangira's students in the future.

Supporting Sangira's Educational Ventures

Sangira is actively seeking donors to support their inaugural year offering our blended learning courses. By contributing to this cause, individuals can make a meaningful impact on professional education in Rwanda. To learn more and contribute, visit their website: www.sangira.ch.

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