When you visit several art centres around Kigali, you immediately realise its more than visual arts being displayed there. Apart from the paintings hanging on the walls of the galleries, the artists are engaged in other noble activities.
Niyo Cultural Centre in Kacyiru, a Kigali city suburb is one of the art centres engaged in activities beyond displaying art pieces. The centre is making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.
Olivier Cyusa, the coordinator of Niyo Cultural Centre, says the centre looks after 112 vulnerable children— the number having risen from 28 when the project was established in 2013.
The centre provides accommodation and meets education needs of the children.
Cyusa says the centre uses 30 percent of the proceeds from art sales to fund these activities. Also, some of the children are being trained to acquire skills in traditional music and drumming. The kids perform for tourists and receive donations to sponsor the activities. They do performances called Cultural Exchange Night every last Friday of the month.
The other avenues through which the kids get money is through performances in hotels and special events like weddings.
Cyusa is among those who teach drumming while Patrick Busenga trains the kids in dancing skills.
The centre purchased tailoring machines to support some of the mothers of the children to get sustainable income to support their families.
“We are now training 24 mothers, some of whom have acquired some skills and we expect others to enrol in June,” explains Cyusa.
Cyusa says he is a product of Niyo Cultural Centre that supported his education at APAPER High School between 2013 - 2015, and after graduating with a Computer Science certificate, the centre employed him to manage the children.
Niyo cultural Center was established in 2013 by Pacificue Niyonsenga, a former street boy.