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
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,

Murakose cyane!

Nicky and