By Sadiki Bamperineza
Ladies and Gentlemen, parents, teachers, Kepler alumni and distinguished guests, good afternoon and congratulations to all my fellow Kepler graduates. It used to seem hard in the beginning, soft in the middle after being familiar and so sweet at the end when you made it. This is the reason why we are celebrating today.
I am standing in front of you as a boy who was passing days and nights in a refugee camp with much stress and hopelessness under the shifting roofs. There was no hope for the future. However, by the end, I have been given a chance to change that and start to pass days and nights working on projects and finding solutions to life challenges and workplace scenarios. It was a time of improving myself and creating a new version of myself. Previously, I needed to be lifted, but today, I am full of ideas to uplift others. Thank you very much, Kepler and Southern New Hampshire University.
The last three years have gone quickly not due to the length of time, however, but due to multiple deadlines, we had to meet. We were working as employees at Acme Widget and Spokes of Hope Worldwide Companies. We received numerous “not yet” and plenty of feedback. It was a very challenging time of learning with resilience and patience. It was a time of enhancing our ability and creating our new versions of ourselves which will help us deal with life challenges. As Nelson Mandela said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.” I am glad that we are celebrating success today. Congratulations to you all graduates and Kepler alumni for your commitment and resilience.
Dear parents, I am grateful for your full support during our academic journey. Hull said “at the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents. Your involvement is a key factor to our success. You are our best counselors and advisors in our lives. We would not arrive at this level without your support. On this particular day, we want to thank you all for your positive support. Our success is yours too.
Dear guests, on this great day, we are happy to have you here. This is a day we celebrate our achievements. We are a new generation of change makers. We, Kepler graduates, we are effective communicators and networkers. We are tech-savvy managers. In addition, we are dynamic leaders and collaborators. We are creative and critical thinkers as well as conscious and ethical citizens. These are our traits. We are ready to tackle challenges and turn them into opportunities. Our education has helped us to think intensively and critically. We are confident in our experiences, and we believe that we can make it.
Dear fellow graduates, this is our day. We have to be happy for our achievements and keep enjoying our success. However, on the other hand, we have to remember that this is not the end of our journey. It is the starting point of working hard and intelligently. Previously, we learned different skills but, today, we are opening a new window of possibilities. It is time to show that we are the generation that past generations were waiting for. Our goal for the future is to hand to the next generation a world better than what we are given. Do not forget that we are the citizens of Africa. We have gathered skills to create jobs for our siblings and friends. We are here to innovate, lead, transform and build Africa.
Napoleon Hill, from his book, Think and Grow Rich wrote: “Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.” He also added, “ A quitter never wins-and-a winner never quits.”What this means is that we need to set goals for ourselves and work hard to achieve them despite the challenges the world will throw at you. With constant learning and creativity, we will reach higher and be able to make changes to develop our society.
Lastly, I am grateful to Kepler and Southern New Hampshire University, MIDAMAR and UNHCR because Kepler Kiziba is running and refugees can access higher education. Through the Southern New Hampshire University Refugee Initiative, we have been able to restore and to rebuild hope of the future. We need this program to work in other refugee camps in Rwanda. I believe that true education is the best tool for changing lives. Refugees need the opportunity to immigrate with the world. This can be done by mobile assets which are the ability of the mind and a set of skills to sustain a living everywhere in the world. We need the Iteme program and women leadership program to be supported to lift up the lives of marginalized people by promoting their education. Nothing is more valuable than saving a life and sustaining growth. Once again may God bless Rwanda and Rwandans, Kepler and its alumni as well as Southern New Hampshire University.
I wish you a great day of enjoyment and celebration.
Thank you very much!!