RWANDA

RWANDA

In the summer of 2014, Jeanine Munyeshuli Barbé and Yogeswari met in Woodstock to discuss the possibility of implementing Yoga and Peace Programs in Rwanda through AZAHAR. Jeanine was very happy, as she had been wishing to give back to her native country in this way, and was still missing a structure. With the support of AZAHAR Switzerland, Jeanine traveled to Rwanda in February 2015, identified some very dynamic organizations we could work with and taught some introductory Yoga classes.

In February 2016, Jeanine Munyeshuli Barbé and Yogeswari were in Rwanda. Their aim was to refresh the memory and strengthen the contacts with the organizations where Jeanine taught in 2015, and to find one or several teachers who could ensure continuity with the programs. This is when we met Aline Mpazimpaka, the first Rwandan female certified yoga teacher living in Rwanda. Aline is a dancer, social worker and received her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification from Africa Yoga Project in Nairobi in 2014 and has pursued more advanced studies. She is a meditation coach under Peace Revolution and has followed three trainings on using conscious living breath for stress and trauma reduction. AZAHAR Switzerland has been sponsoring Aline to teach regular classes to Agahozo Shalom, Indego Africa and Imbuto Foundation.

“As a country that faced genocide in 1994, a big number of Rwandans have had problems of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have found that yoga can be instrumental to find the solution to PTSD in Rwanda.”
—Aline Mazimpaka

Main Activities

YOGA PROGRAM

With the program in rwanda being just one year old, azahar’s entry point
To peace building is though yoga & meditation. For a year now, aline mazimpaka has been teaching to high-school students at agahozo shalom youth village, who were orphaned or otherwise born into difficult circumstances due to the rwandan genocide in 1994. She also teaches at the women’s cooperatives of indego foundation. Many of them were widowed and lost several family members during the genocide. Yoga is helpful in helping them find grounding and joy, and is a valuable tool to maintain longevity in the physically demanding jobs of sewing, knitting and basket weaving. The yoga classes at imbuto foundation target a group of young college-age women who were orphaned during the genocide and have been given (food),shelter (and an education) by imbuto for many years. As they cannot really afford any other activities, yoga is a hit for them.

Cost: $15,000.00 USD

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Who is Who

Aline MAZIMPAKA

My name is Aline MAZIMPAKA I am 30 years old, I am Rwandan.

I hold a bachelor’s degree of art in social work from National University of Rwanda. In 2014 I attended a 200hrs yoga teacher training in Kenya; I attended 3 trainings on foundation to conscious living breath based healing techniques for stress and trauma reduction. I am a meditation coach under Peace Revolution.

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I choose to teach yoga because it changed my life. I have been practicing yoga for 5 years. From my experience I have found yoga as an approach that is surely customized to fit all ranges of age, cultures, religions and abilities. From yoga I achieved following results: Attitude change towards the self and the growth of esteem towards possibilities, reaching a greater life purpose by being the agent of change, Capacity to create greater connections with friends which took me out of living a lonely shy life to living in the world of possibilities, Further instructional knowledge in teaching and relating to others, and Sustainability in my income through making money from teaching yoga.

Rwanda As a country that faced genocide in 1994, a big number of Rwandans have had problems of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have found that yoga can be instrumental to find the solution to PTSD in Rwanda.

Moreover yoga can be job creation engine for youth in Rwanda who suffers a lot from jobless.

The Rwanda is in a right way to restore unit and reconciliation among its people, and I am out to contribute to it trough yoga practice.

Current Conditions

Human population in Rwanda goes as far back as the last Ice Age. The earliest inhabitants are thought to be the Twa, a group of Pygmy forest hunters and gatherers, whose descendants still live in Rwanda today. Later appeared Bantu groups, the Hutu, who were mainly agricultural, and the Tutsi, who were pastoral. By the 15th century, they had assembled themselves into small states and became more centralized during the Reign of Rwabugiri. Rwanda became part of German East Africa from 1885-1919. After WWI it came under the Belgian league of nations mandate, which lasted from 1922-45, and a Belgian UN trust territory from 1945-61. It was under the Belgian rule that the Hutu/Tutsi differences were exploited.

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Scientists came to measure people’s skulls, brains, noses with methods that were later used in Nazi Germany to determine racial superiority. The Tutsi were assessed to be closer to “Caucasians,” were therefore given more political control, and everyone was made to wear an ethnic identity card. Independence was gained in 1961, yet the divide between Hutu and Tutsi kept on being fed by foreign interests. After many years of unrests and pogroms, the genocide broke out in 1994, where 1 Mio Tutsi were executed in a period of 3 months. This lead to a massive refugee crisis, thousands of orphaned children and a traumatized population of survivors. Rwanda’s healing and forgiving process has been exemplary due to a traditional court system named Gacaca. The current government under Alex Kagame features many women in positions of power and a high investment in the improvement of education and preservation of wildlife and environment, while the genocidal conflict is presently being carried out in Burundi. According to the World Bank, average per capita income in 2015 was $1,762.69, positioning it at #169.

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