During the last few weeks of July, Kevin traveled to Nyungwe National Park in southern Rwanda. Extending for 1,000 sq kilometers across Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is the largest stretch of montane forest in East or Central Africa. It is also ancient, dating back to before the last Ice Age. Nyungwe is home to 13 species of primates, including the endangered chimpanzee – man’s closest relative. Nyungwe is also popular among birdwatchers as it is home to over 300 species of birds.
Kevin conducted a creative writing workshop with 17 young women just outside the gates of Nyungwe National Park. Only one of these young women has ever seen a chimpanzee despite the throngs of tourists that visit their community each year to visit the chimps near Nyungwe. But all of the young women were proud of Nyungwe and its wildlife and excited to be helping to conserve it for future generations while also contributing to promoting girls’ education in Rwanda through their stories.
Following the genocide in 1994 in which 800,000 people died, Rwanda struggles to shake its reputation for violence and war. However, what many people do not realize is that Rwanda has made tremendous strides in recovering from the genocide. The country is now largely peaceful. The government is well-respected internationally for investing in the country’s infrastructure and education. And the economy has been growing. Rwanda has placed particular emphasis on education as the key to its continued recovery and growth. And Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books is happy to be supporting this success story by providing support for girls’ education in Rwanda.