On June 28, Léonce Byimana, a program coordinator for PIH’s sister project in Rwanda, Inshuti Mu Buzima, emailed an update about the opening of 32 new homes for the pygmy community — known as the Twa — who live in Burera District, where PIH/IMB has worked since 2008. Beginning in late 2010, PIH/IMB has worked to ensure each of the 39 families living in this community have access to a new home.

From: Léonce Byimana
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 6:10 AM
To: Peter Drobac
Cc: Paul Farmer
Subject: Thank you

Good morning all.

This is a letter to thank everybody who contributed to the realization of the pygmy construction project and those who attended Saturday's inauguration of 32 new pygmy houses — both physically and in spirit. Many of the beneficiaries who were present told me they have never been happier. They've never felt respected like that day, seeing their children taking pictures with the children of PIH’s founders, employees, supporters, and donors.

However, the families we relocated still need to satisfy the first level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — the physiological one. But they will no longer be experiencing heavy rains during the night. The prevalence of pneumonia in that population will certainly decrease.

Watch a video about the Twa housing project

The community has houses; their children can study without the risk of their books becoming soaked.

PIH has many plans for this community, like making sure everyone has access to education. Today many of their children are at school but their attendance is sporadic. Many of them attend two or three times a week and that effects their performance. We were planning to put some of them in boarding school, where they can study in good conditions and learn better. Hopefully they will serve as an example to others, who will be aware of the importance of school, and personally, I see these children as the future of their community.


Jane and her younger brother (Photo taken by Rebecca)

The child in the picture, Jane, is now integrated in primary school, but her schooling is uncertain because she must help her parents harvest or find food most days.

Because of this, IMB is hoping to improve the Twa’s living conditions by initiating money-generating activities. The same activities will facilitate integration in the community in general because the projects will not be only for pygmies.

That's why we brought to you this message, even if two or three children can enroll in a nice school, and finish, it will be a giant step in the his{cke_protected_1}tory of this population.

If one or two farming or handicraft projects are supported it will change life in this Twa community.

Read: One Hundred Pygmy Children Receive a Chance to Attend School

The Burera team is also ready to give further information, success stories, problem analysis, pictures or any other document or idea which can help for this or that initiative from whoever is willing to make that happen.

Let's hope, one day in the near future, the same children in the new village in Nyamicucu will be able to sit with the children from the families who visited them this Saturday and discuss about various subjects, not using signs language, but using English or any other language because they'll be educated.

Once again thank you for everybody.

Thank you,
Léonce Byimana

P.S: Please, forward this message to anybody who attended the event and those who contributed directly or indirectly to the accomplishment of such a unique activity.

Learn more about PIH/IMB’s work in Rwanda