By Sharon Kantengwa

Imfura Arts for Peace is an arts organisation that started in 2018, for aspiring peace and social responsibility in community for the youth.

It was founded by a group of youths, led by 21-year-old poet and author, Fred Mfuranzima, while in high school. It has since grown to include other youths from different backgrounds.

At school many knew me as an author and poet and so many young people came to me and requested to help them develop their talents. I decided to bring them together and we discussed how we can work together.

This is how we started a group, affiliated to Never Again, Rwanda that helped us to understand the critical thinking skills and to create a space where we can meet and discuss about our community issues that matter to us.

“I decided to create a group that can perform different kinds of art and in the process inspire others that have hardships in creating their art. The group has been on the rise for being responsible leaders and active citizens, which is needed for our post- Genocide society. Youth born in different family backgrounds can work together to develop and nurture their talents for change,” he says.

The over 80 youths, including scholars that are part of the organisation, are involved in kinds of art including poetry, book writing, others photography, paintings, fashion.

Aamani Mugiraneza, a member of Imfura Art for Peace, believes that working together as a group enables them to support each other with their talents as they all get to share their own skills before Allen Umulisa chips in;

“In our Rwandan society families think of art as a waste of time. But when you work together as a group, it shows them that you are doing something of benefit to the society.”

Claire Uwihozo, another member that shares her fashion design skills, says they chose art as a way to attract the youth because they like entertainment which they use to learn about peace.

“We are trying to give the youth a platform to express their ideas and say something that would change our country and sometimes it’s hard to air your voice alone but as a group when you bring your ideas in a creative way, it feels less intimidating and you get to have a bigger audience,” adds Clemence Umutoni.

Today, February 16, they will be presenting their projects for 2019, titled “ Arts and the path to resilience: dealing with trans-generations trauma and repository of our society’s memories” at the Innovation Village in Kacyiru.

“We will use our different projects of fashion, poetry, music, literature, painting and visual arts which will work on tracking our society’s history and inspire the youth who have faced trauma. We are going to put them in the books, recorded poems, paintings, photography and make some exhibitions and events where those artists will get time to perform and tell their own stories. We will also create a space where the youths will come to understand our history to be able to tell the stories in the future,”

“We want to spread our messages of peace as a way of building our country and also ourselves. When you have a message through art, when you pass it on, it reaches many people, Peline Mudahungwa, another member, adds.

Source The New Times

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