Residents and students of Bedford, Virginia in the United States will be treated to a performance dubbed ‘Eyes on Rwanda’ at the Bower Centre for the Artson Sunday.
According to Rwandan traditional dance performer and founder of the Rwanda- based Niyo Cultural Centre, Pacifique Niyonsenga, the event will feature traditional Rwandan drumming and dance performed by former street kids. The centre will also showcase its artworks.
Niyonsenga told The New Times in an interview, that the proceeds from the performance and art sales will go towards supporting the Centre’s former street children.
The 24-year-old artist uses art to lure children off the street and trains vulnerable children traditional dance, drumming and art to be able to use their skills to earn a living.
Niyonsenga is also a former street child and spent much of his childhood on the streets of Kigali. Thanks to the generosity of a Canadian man called Bruno, Niyonsenga managed to escape the street life and was able to get an education and found special interest in art and music.
Today, the former street child helps vulnerable children by introducing them to the arts. Through Niyo Cultural Centre, which he founded in April 2012, Niyonsenga provides basic needs such as accommodation and education to children he picks from the street. The centre also promotes art in Rwanda.
The artist believes that art is education—thus, an artist’s role is to use their skills to educate people about everything they see happening around them.
Niyonsenga’s life story has become an inspiration to the children who are struggling to get off the streets.
Through his dedication, some of these children have managed to gain confidence and most importantly, skills which will help them to live a decent life.
The Niyo Cultural Centre’s street children’s ministry is sponsored by The Bower Centre for the arts and Rwandan HUGS, a Christian based NGO that supports vulnerable children.
Some of the children have been integrated in schools, and others have ventured into music and art.