FROM STREET KIDS TO LEADERS

“When you are living on the street, there is no hope, there is no life, there is no future. The music has changed us. We now feel proud and have hope. Through music and performance, we are example students to the rest of our community and our country." - LEAF Intore Cultural Troupe, program participants

The Intore Culture & Music Center will give hope, housing and music training to Rwanda’s future leaders by providing support to Rwandan street orphans affected by the 1994 genocide. The LEAF Intore Cultural Troupe is a group of former street orphans who have in just three years risen from the streets to being world class performers. They are the inspiration behind this project, and as a group they told us, "Our dream is to teach other youth and street orphans and give them the same opportunities they have been given".

A powerful collaboration between LEAF International, the Playing For Change Foundation and Ivuka Arts Kigali has made the longtime dream of establishing a culture and music center for Rwandan street orphans a reality.

The Intore Culture & Music Center will provide housing, traditional drumming and performance classes to Rwandan orphans and the community. As a result of the 1994 Genocide and the AIDS epidemic, 70% of the Rwandan population is under 30—a large portion of which is made up of orphans without housing or education.

Rwanda's rich music, drumming and dance culture is preserved through mentoring local youth. Street children— through immersion in their cultural music traditions—receive valuable skill development, empowerment, self-esteem and community connection.

The Intore Culture & Music Center is currently in development. During the LEAF International team's recent trip to Rwanda, the partnership with Ivuka Arts was solidified. Ivuka has already started to prepare for the Intore Cultural Troupe’s move to the new Center upon its completion, offering to provide transition assistance and planning for future opportunities for the troupe. Locations are currently being scouted for the Center’s permanent home with plans to open its doors in 2011.


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FOLLOW THE JOURNEY

"These kids have a lot to say, but they don't have a voice. Music, dance, drumming and visual arts have become their voice." - Collin Sekajugo, Ivuka Arts

Over the past year, LEAF International and Playing for Change Foundation have researched over 25 potential partners based in Rwanda for the Intore Culture & Music Center. When we met with Ivuka Arts, we knew we had found a kismet match. Ivuka currently practices our mission to connect youth (with a focus on street children) to creative arts. Their studio is a welcoming environment for children to learn, create, explore and grow. Their values, passion and creative energy not only impressed the LEAF International Rwanda team but also the leaders of the boys’ troupe.


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