The arts are a powerful tool for empowering youth and this has seen the MindLeaps programme of Dance grow steadily. The programme seeks to give hope to vulnerable children.
A recent event, organised by MindLeaps Rwanda, on January 18 in Kigali, saw over 20 young people perform dance routines. Dressed in creative outfits, the young dancers impressed the audience with their ballet skills.
The dances were accompanied by live storytelling and poetry by some of the beneficiaries of the programme.
One of the performers was Sifa Mukantwari, who says she had given up hope of improving her life through education. But, by joining the programme years ago she got a scholarship to join White Doves Girls Schools
“Dancing enabled me to get a scholarship and I hope to pursue it as a career once I am done with school,” said Mukantwari.
“We wanted to find a practical way of attracting young people and dance seemed to be the best option,” said Rebecca Davis, the executive director of MindLeaps Rwanda.
Uplifting young people
After watching the dance performance, US Ambassador to Rwanda, Erica J Barks-Ruggles, said programmes like MindLeaps uplift young people especially girls. She said it gives them a platform to express themselves and realise some of their dreams.
“These creative activities are important and are part of our education programme,” said Patrice D V Dorrall, who heads White Dove Girls School in Kigali and also runs two other schools in America.
So far, MindLeaps has 90 students aged between 9 and 18 and seeks to help the most vulnerable young people by equipping them with skills for use in schools and vocational training.
Ms Davis lauded the introduction and implementation of the new competence-based curriculum in both primary and secondary schools last year.
“We are also interested in partnering with various schools across the country to apply our programme,” she said.
Ms Davis added that MindLeaps plans to open five more centres at an estimated cost of $180,000 and hopes to raise more than $25,000 from partners to support its current beneficiaries.