Global Impact: AIM for Africa

The Twa of Rwanda represent only one percent of the country’s population. They are severely discriminate against and live in impoverished conditions, struggling each day to buy water and food. Of the village’s nearly one hundred members, only ten have survived past the age of forty. Despite their living conditions, the villagers are highly skilled potters and dancers, but have lacked the business skills and structures necessary to prosper and maintain health and well-being.

Arts in Medicine began working with the Twa in 2009 as a part of the ongoing “AIM for Africa” initiative. In the summer of 2011, in partnership with the Barefoot Artists, AIM helped a Twa village in western Rwanda form a professional revenue-generating dance troupe and a pottery cooperative. As the Pottery Rugerero Cooperative and the Amahoro Dance Troupe become more and more successful, the villagers are beginning to prosper. In addition to being able to afford staples, they are now raising goats and have purchased beds and mosquito nets for their homes. Their art has made them visible in Rwandan culture and is beginning to change a long-standing pattern of widespread discrimination and oppression.

AIM Facts:

  • Since 2006, the AIM for Africa program has established arts in healthcare initiatives in Kenya, the Gambia, Rwanda, and the Congo.
  • AIM for Africa engages the arts to enhance health literacy, access to healthcare and community wellness in underdeveloped African communities, in partnerships with local organizations.
  • In 2011, the Center for Arts in Medicine, in partnership with the Society for the Arts in Healthcare and the Rwanda Red Cross, hosted the international East-Central Arts & Health Forum in Kigali, Rwanda.