The Batwa Pygmies once entertained for the Royal Family of Rwanda. Now, they often live as social outcasts in famine, poverty and neglect. Pygmy Survival Alliance partners with the Batwa Village of Cyaruzinge, Rwanda to empower these fabulous entertainers to adapt to the modern world and once again achieve greatness. This project will build a new preschool with traditional music, song, and dance, to enable this ancient culture to survive, and thrive in a rapidly modernizing world.
In 2008, more than half of Batwa children died before age 5. Starvation was a key factor. Social stigma against them was strong. People no longer sang or danced, because they were hungry. As refugees from their traditional forest home, they lived on the fringe of society. Quite simply, they were going extinct and they asked us for help. We began with shoes, food security and health care By 2016, so many children survived, mothers pushed for a preschool. Now that one is too small!
The new preschool will make room for over 100 children to receive state-of-the-art early childhood enrichment that has been shown to enhance language development and brain growth. With a daily breakfast program, the children will have energy to learn. With a focus on traditional music, song and dance, they will learn respect for their traditions and themselves. With a successful early childhood experience, they will be prepared to enter elementary school as capable and confident learners.
The new preschool and Institute for traditional culture is named "Amakondera" for the traditional wooden flutes that pygmies would play when they returned from a successful hunt in the jungle to announce news of a good dinner for everyone that night. By restoring this tradition, and restoring the survival and self-respect of the Batwa people, this new generation of children will become a generation of leaders for the survival of the 30,000 Batwa in Rwanda who still face extinction.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).