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Project Rwanda

Why do we work in Rwanda?

In Rwanda today disability still often brings shame and stigma.  It is common for families to be ostracised by the community or even abused. 67% of the population are living below the poverty line and medical care is limited especially in remote rural areas. With thousands of children and young adults across Rwanda either living in institutional care or accessing day centres there is an extraordinary need to equip care staff with the skills that will allow them to address their needs. In 1994, around 1 million Rwandans were killed over a period of three months and the many genocide memorials all over the country serve to remind of this time, and of the trauma and suffering still carried by so many people. Although this is not a focus of our work it is something that we are very mindful of and has effected all the staff and children we are working with in one way or another. 


Our work in Rwanda to date has evidenced how effectively music as therapy techniques can be adopted in a country with its own rich musical tradition.  Our projects have not only improved the quality of care afforded to these children, but has also been of great value to the local care staff who have been empowered by new skills and greater confidence.  

Music as Therapy International’s involvement in Rwanda began from a distance in 2006 through Music Therapists Helen Leith and Judith Nockolds who were developing awareness of music therapy among a local network of people working with children and adults with disabilities (the Tubakunde Network). 



Project Noel de Nyundo: 2014

In August 2014 UK Music Therapist, Stephanie Jayne and projects’ Assistant, Hannah Hulin travelled to Gisenyi, Rwanda to deliver a 6 week skill-sharing project. They shared skills with care staff, teachers and social workers working at the Noel de Nyundo Orphanage and the Ubumwe Community Centre.


To read more about this project and our plans for 2015 please click here.


Ngwino Nawe and Nkanka Nkanka

In 2010 Music as Therapy International sent Music Therapists Nicky Haire and Caroline Anderson to deliver an introductory skill-sharing project in two centres in the Rusizi district, Ngwino Nawe and Nkanka Nkanka. After spending six weeks working in these two Centres, Nicky and Caroline left local staff fully equipped and confident to run their own music sessions, effectively using music to meet the immediate emotional, social and behavioural needs of the children in their care.  


To find out more about this initial introductory skill sharing project please click here. To see a video example of their work click here. A year later Nicky and Caroline returned to the two staff teams to see how they were getting on and to offer any support needed for their music programmes to continue.  It was an opportunity to share successes and difficulties. Most recently they returned to Rwanda with Projects' Manager, Jane Robbie in September 2013.


To read more about this project please click here 


To donate to our work in Rwanda please click here

 Other news

The Institute for Creative Health recently featured an article about our work in Rwanda. Click here to read the article.

Nicky Haire has summarised the activities of our work in Rwanda really clearly on this poster:

(Click here to enlarge the image)