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Using interpersonal relevant values from three popular cultures to establish good relationship between refugees and Rwanda population.

Building bridge between refugees and Rwanda population through traditional dance and music, especially with traditional instruments.

Photo of Hormisdas Ndayishimiye
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

In Rwanda, there are refugees from Burundi and the RDC. Among the problems raised by and facing the refugee camps, we can note the recruitment of young people by armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and deforestation, seeking firewood. These problems, on the one hand lead to bad relationships between refugees and the Rwanda population, and on the other hand, to insecurity in the three countries. I believe that the first root cause to this refugee problem is the change of the borders by the colonialism. With the new borders established by the colonialism, Rwanda has lost a big region which was attached to DRC in Northern Kivu. The people in this region who were Rwandans became DRC citizens and continued to use their Kinyarwanda language in the DRC. Unfortunately, political strife used this difference to persecute them along ethnic and tribal lines. After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, hundreds of thousands Rwandan Hutu refugees trekked to the DRC, making an already existing problem worse. These refugees created political parties to become political armed groups. Most members of these armed groups were accused of and wanted for perpetrating the Genocide mentioned above. The international community made a move to eradicate them, but in vain. Apparently out of control, they prospered on looting, raping and killing the Congolese population who fled to Rwanda, most of them speaking Kinyarwanda. In 2015, with the political problem in Burundi, many Burundians fled to Rwanda and were settled in Mahama Refugee Camp, Eastern Province. For the moment then, Rwanda hosts refugees from the DRC and from Burundi. As author of the book “Heritage from Father” I will prepare conferences given to refugees on the common values in three cultures like gratitude, truth and forgiveness. Many Congolese, Burundian and Rwandan youths are naturally attracted by and good at traditional music and dancing.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

The idea targets refugees from the DRC and Burundi in Rwanda, respectively in the two camps (Mugombwa and Kigeme) in Southern Province, and in one camp (Mahama) in Eastern province. My idea will target these camps because I have more information on them. For instance, refugees from Mugombwa are very good at pastoral songs and refugees from Mahama are specialists in playing drum.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

My idea builds the bridge of peaceful cohabitation basing on truth, gratitude, forgiveness, self-worth and mutual trust. Through traditional dances, music especially with traditional instruments on these values, we will instill in people on the move and neighbors the positive message of living together in peace and counter the lies that are based on political interest.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Giving creative activities to young refugees will be the first path of hope. By creating spaces for them to show their talents and even produce income will promote a general feeling of self-worth and dignity, and of course some badly needed relaxation for the camp population who have no other source of leisure.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The Rwanda government and its partners use different approaches to resolve material problems and needs, but needs and problems on the human level like hope, dignity, etc. are not addressed. My approach comes in to address these, using interpersonal relevant values from three countries through traditional dance, music with traditional musical instruments. For instance, Rwanda has a beautiful traditional dance; Burundians are specialist in drum playing and people from RDC in pastoral songs and boast songs. We are convinced that putting together these talents can connect positively these people.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

The first inspiration is the Afro-American Negro Spirituals, a form of folk music developed African-American slaves on plantations, to create a sense of dignity, solidarity and relaxation. Another inspiration is my experience as person formerly on the move. During the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994, I lost most of my family in Rwanda while I was in Sicily in Italy. The first value which helped me was gratitude as I say in my book: “Heritage from Father”, this value was instilled in me by my father in early age. As a grateful person, I attracted love and compassion from Sicilian people and my relationships with them were very good. When I returned to Rwanda I forgave the killers of my family because I was pushed by a spirit of gratitude to God and people who helped me. I was convinced that forgiveness was my contribution to the reconciliation of Rwandans.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

The majority of refugees in the camps are people from rural areas of the Congo and Burundi. They are farmers and cattle raisers and they know pastoral songs and traditional dances using traditional instruments like drum. Their children go to school and can speak some French and English. They repeat songs in these languages. The youth know traditional and modern songs and dances. By presenting my experience and my book: “Heritage from Father” it will be a good occasion to understand them and know their needs. I will invite them to tell their stories especially on popular values, and ask them if improving their songs can help them. My presentation and their intervention will give me an opportunity to speak friendly with them and regarding what can help them in their lives. Finally, I will know exactly what I can improve on my idea and help them according to what they need within the context of our values.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

During and after the 1994 genocide, every Rwandan has been on the move. With the commission for unity and reconciliation, the Rwandan community has reconciled and today can help other people regarding dialogue and reconciliation. Refugees from the DRC and Burundi have a lot of cultural features in common, including cultural songs and traditional dancing. These cultural features are strengths in themselves, children and young people are naturally good at them, perform within the separate camps for fun and relaxation, but that’s all. Empowering them by giving them better instruments, training them and organizing competitions within, among the camps and the host community, showing them examples of success cases of musicians and dancers making money out of their art, will be my contribution to capitalize on existing talents and situations to build a more profitable context. Artists from host communities and from refugee camps will meet, train, exhibit and compete together.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

I am an individual, the community management team can work to identify potential partners within the BridgeBuilder community.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Group or Organization Name


Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

When I was in Italy as a displaced person from Rwanda in 1994, the genocide starts and lost most of my family. Very sad with broken heart, I keep my discipline and my spirit of voluntarism helped me to create a good relationship with Sicilian Italians (e.g. help in the church and home for young people at risk… I keep my spirit of gratitude for a very thing they did for me. Returned in Rwanda, I saw the experience of displaced people with frustration and stigmatization from communities and I noted that there was lack of something to put together two parties, a space together. Thinking to interpersonal relevant values from three cultures I am the right person to solve this problem because values helped me in difficult moments. In Rwanda, I wrote a book telling about my all journey and I want to be bridge builder in order to help others also with my book.

Website URL:

Not yet

Type of submitter

  • Other

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Huye district/ Southern Province


Join the conversation:

Photo of Hormisdas Ndayishimiye

Thank you very much, Francois. In the preface of my book, "Heritage from Father" I say: "With Heritage from Father, I wish to share my experience with many people in the hope that the values that healed me will be of assistance to other people in the world." With my Idea, I hope that interpersonal relevant values from three cultures through dance and music will be the sustainable solution of some problems which exist between the refugees in Rwanda and the Rwanda population.

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