Family members of indigenous families, especially children, in Mpanda cell, Byimana sector of Ruhango district, say their economic situation such as lack of school materials ( Books, shoes, school uniforms, etc…) cause of drop out.

Niyonkuru, indigenous orphan confirms that after his mother death, the father could not help them go to school because of socio-economic situation.

“My father cannot find school uniforms; we do not have shoes even notebooks. At school, they request those materials whereas we do not have, so we prefer to leave ” confirm the child.

Sometimes, these children are swimming in swamps and rivers, others are wandering up and down countryside, while others are at schools.

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“Nowadays, this information is true. Their children are not at school because of their families’ poverty situation. Their parents cannot get school materials for them. We find them at the rivers swimming and wandering elsewhere”.

François Xavier Mbabazi ,the Mayor of Ruhango district, says that he was not  aware of this situation and vows to contact schools to help indigenous children  back to schools, as  education is a right and  it is  for free.

About school materials, the district will deal with partners so as to assist those children and help them in their studies.

On the other hand, their parents will find jobs in VUP program in Mwendo and Kanyarira roads projects, to help them improve their economic situation.

Apart from the problems of lack school materials, these children are not smart; their clothes are dirty, they do not wash their bodies and their hairs are not dressed at all.

In Rwanda, indigenous people are widely stigmatized, considered as ignorant and uncivilized. The social and economic integration of these former Twa(later indigenous, autochthones, historical marginalized people, now potters) in Rwandan society is extremely limited; these indigenous people can be characterized as a disadvantaged and marginalized caste.

They are also left behind  in education, healthcare, and land rights.  In 2007, Communauté des Autochtones au Rwanda (CAURWA) changed name into COPORWA (Communauté des Potiers au  Rwanda), dropping the word ‘indigenous’ from its title.

Recently, Hon Zephrin Kalimba, one from the community in Rwandan senate was subjective to the name, claiming “They should always be called TWA, as the whole Rwandan society calls and treats them so”.

August 9th, while the world was celebrating the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, which represents about 370 million people in 90 countries, rwanda situation was alarming. According to statistics, 89% of Rwandan indigenous people have no plots, 82% have no livestock, and 60% are beggars.

Hon Zephrin Kalimba, in media, has been warning, about disappearance of this human species. “If nothing is done, this community is in danger of disappearing, as 90% of them live in extreme poverty in Rwanda”.

We find these people grouped in some areas like Cyaruzinge/Gasabo, Miyove,Manyagiro, Kibari/Gicumbi; Butaro/Burera, Kigeme/Nyamagabe, Bubazi/Karongi, Kagina/Kamonyi, many in Nyaruguru and Gisagara.

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Merchiore Kayiranga



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