Kaneza Elisabeth, a Rwandan living in Germany initiated the network Ruanda Connection bringing together Rwandan youths in Germany. Until now they have realized many activities intended to connect the youth.
During an exclusive interview,Kaneza Elisabeth explained to IGIHE the idea behind the initiative and also how she was able to realize it.
IGIHE: Could you tell us something about yourself?
Kaneza: My name is Kaneza Elisabeth, I’ve lived in Germany for 18 years now. I was born in Rwanda and I’m 25 years old. currently studying a Master’s degree.
IGIHE: As a young person, what do you think about your country?
Kaneza: I didn’t acquire German nationality. I see myself as a Rwandan who could return to live in Rwanda. I think that the country should create opportunities for the youths so that they can make use of their knowledge. But a lot has been achieved already and I really see that Rwanda has a bright future.
IGIHE: How do you intend to bring news to the youths who don’t get the chance to travel to Rwanda?
Kaneza: The youths lack news because they have stayed abroad for a long time. The lack of sufficient news leads to insecurity and arouses fear among youths thus fear to visit their country.
Having understood this, I felt that it was important to bring good news about Rwanda to the youths. Most importantly, I wanted to tell those living abroad that there are youths in Rwanda as well who are helping to rebuild the country, and that we all share the same country.
A country which is different from the one of our parents. Because now there is a country of the young generation which is strong, hardworking and very progressive. And I wanted them to understand that we have the same interests and aims.
We all share the interest for technology and development, and much more. This is how the word “Connection” came into my mind and I developed the idea to connect the Rwandan youth living abroad.
IGIHE: When was the network founded and what have you achieved?
Kaneza: The network was founded in 2011. We started by organizing a Christmas Celebration for Rwandans and friends of Rwanda in Berlin – which was great because it was initiated by the Rwandan youth who had not been to Rwanda for a long time. In fact, some had not even been there.
We also created a network in Kigali so that the youths in Rwanda can provide us with news. There are some young people who returned to Rwanda and can tell us about their experiences. The idea is basically to promote exchange between the young people.
IGIHE: What do you do exactly in the network?
Kaneza: We know that there are youths who would like to know what is out there in Rwanda. They ask themselves: What are my opportunities in Rwanda?
Some young people living abroad don’t know what they can do in Rwanda. In some cases, their complete families are abroad or they have no relatives left in Rwanda. Therefore, our aim is to inform the youths about the life in Rwanda and the opportunities it can offer.
The first thing we did was to connect the youths in Germany, to start meeting and preserving our culture – bringing Rwandan culture into our lives. Often you see that the youths adopt foreign cultures and still people keep asking them where they come from, even when they have their nationality. You need to know where you come from.
IGIHE: Which message do you have for parents abroad?
Kaneza:No matter what they have been through, good or bad, they should not allow the children to be the victims of our history.
Let us unite in correcting our past, but let us not allow the past to make the children dislike their mother country.
Whatever the case, if you grow up abroad, the day will come when you want to know where you come from. And the parents should also make an effort to learn about the developments in their country.