Intore Dance Troupe
The VSPT has been working with the Intore Dance Troupe at the Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge in Rwanda since 2004. The group is made up of 24 dancers and two dance trainers.
The troupe perform the traditional Rwandan ballet called The Intore, also known as “The Heroes” for Volcanoes Safaris guests, which is based on the courtly victory dance of the Rwandan Mwami (kings). Being selected as an Intore in times of old was a great honour – they would receive a privileged education, intensive combat training and they held a high status within the court. Today, the dancers use traditional weapons such as spears and bows and wear brightly coloured clothes and long flowing white hairpieces.
Mwiko Primary School
Mwiko Primary School is situated near the Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge in Rwanda. The VSPT has been working with the primary school since 2009, helping to fund infrastructure projects and proving school materials. Projects include buying school uniforms and materials, building a new water tank and repairing the roof. The VSPT continues to help fund structural improvements to the school building.
The school accommodates over 800 children all at the primary levels of education. With the 12 dedicated and hard-working teachers, the children acquire the education that they need to move to secondary school and beyond.
Volcanoes Safaris guests staying at Virunga Lodge can visit the school to see how the Rwandan education system works, interact with the children and donate scholastic materials to the school.
In 2013, the VSPT started a mushroom growing project at Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge in northern Rwanda. The long-term aim of the project is to provide a livelihood for the low income earning families from the Sunzu, Nyagatoki and Bugeyo villages neighbouring Virunga Lodge.
Currently, five community members are involved with the mushroom growing. The group has started growing oyster mushrooms in the hut constructed on Volcanoes Safaris land. They plan on diversifying into button mushrooms next. The produce is sold to people in the community and Volcanoes Safaris to be served at the lodge.
In 2013 the VSPT started a new project of keeping bees at the Volcanoes Safaris Virunga Lodge in Rwanda. This was adapted from the project already in place in Kyambura, which has proved incredibly successful in providing honey and reducing human-wildlife conflict. The VSPT has allocated a plot of land near the lodge where 11 colonized beehives are located. Interested guests staying at the lodge are able to take a tour of the hives to see how the honey is grown and harvested. Five local beekeepers participate in this project and each has contributed one traditional beehive with a bee colony.
In collaboration with the Sunzu village members, the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust and Volcanoes Safaris have helped facilitate the funding and erection of a 2.7km power line through Kinoni village and Virunga Lodge, bringing electricity to 63 local families for the very first time.
Since 1959 the Ntaruka Hydro Power Station has been providing electricity to the communities surrounding the twin lakes, Bulera and Ruhonda, which can be seen from Virunga Lodge. Today, with the generous contributions from Volcanoes Safaris and the VSPT, the dream of having electricity in the Nkenke village has become a reality.