The Batwa group are the most marginalized groups in Rwanda, these people have lived in what is contemporary Rwanda as well as parts of neighbouring Burundi, Uganda, and Congo for centuries, pursuing their traditional hunter-gatherer type existence in the region's once plentiful forests. Nowadays, they find their habitats and their livelihoods have been denied them. The Rwandan state has for decades been taking over and controlling forest areas for conservation, tourism, and security purposes. The Batwa have been effectively denied access to their homelands and with that have lost most of their means of making a living and now live a shockingly impoverished existence. There are now acute problems such as the poverty and marginalization of the Batwa. Due to their social status and poverty, they are isolated. The project needs to create Batwa Vocational group associations/cooperatives in the Rulindo district not only provide high-quality education but also use experiential learning methods to teach Batwa young people about ancient culture practices, traditional art and music, human rights promoting an intercultural dialogue space for peace. We will also run personal development workshops to help young people develop their self-esteem and leadership abilities/ Batwa group will be empowered through income generation projects.
The Rwandan government classifies the Batwa people under the “historically marginalized” some efforts have been done but there has been slow progress towards bringing this group to the same level of inclusive development and enjoyment of opportunities like other ethnic groups which have been fully integrated. I feel like it is time that NGOs such as Rwandan youth Development and Voluntary organization should start their initiatives to target this under-served group in the Rwandan community in different ways, that why getting the opportunity to get funds for this particular project, and I hope will impact positively this kind of marginalized group as well as changing behaviors of Rwandan citizens towards Batwa group in Rwanda.
As a long-term effect, this project will help teens avoid the risks of unplanned pregnancy, social isolation, depression, and low self-esteem that are common in this age group. It will help youth create hope for a better future that will enable them to wake up each day with a sense of purpose and possibility rather than those feelings of alienation, impotence, and futility.
Successful participation in a vocational-skill-building process will give these young minds a chance to stretch and blossom as adults. The preschool that will be established at the beginning of this project, will make room for over 200 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 the 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.