We have spent most of this week in Kigali, preparing for the conference, which took place yesterday. This conference was jointly hosted by Music as Therapy International and Tubakunde, and launches the exchange programme. This programme facilitates the rolling out of music as therapy skill-sharing across Rwanda and realizes the original vision of Project Leader Helen Leith. It also further establishes the original two centres, Ngwino Nawe and Urugwiro centre, as centres of excellence in Rwanda.
Over seventy people from all around Rwanda attended the conference. Senior members of Tubakunde spoke about their belief in the role of music as therapy in improving the quality of care for the children in their centres. Nicky and Caroline described the history of Music as Therapy in Rwanda. Therese and Consuelo, the directors of Ngwino Nawe and Urugwiro centre spoke about the growth of music as therapy at their centres, the real benefits they have seen with this approach, and enthusiastically encouraged the conference delegates to consider participating in the exchange programme. Audace and Alphonsine, staff from the two centres, gave testimonies about changes they had seen in individual children that they attributed to music as therapy, before leading an example music as therapy group. Despite some very challenging role playing from the group participants, Alphonsine showed all her sensitivity and skill as an excellent music leader!
We were keen that there should be musical and practical elements to the day. Steph and Hannah welcomed everyone with live music. Later, the participants were divided into four groups and took part in parallel activity sessions before watching excerpts from the DVD. The day began and ended with song. After a shared lunch it was extremely encouraging to receive a huge number of expression of interest forms; nearly all the centres represented at the conference would like to participate. All in all the exchange programme has got off to a fantastic start and we look forward to hearing from our partners at Tubakunde for the next stage.
We’re flying back to the UK this evening. It has been a packed two weeks, and once again we’re sorry to be leaving this beautiful country of sunshine, hills, banana trees, songs, dancing and good friends. Thank you for continued support,
Nicky and Caroline