Published on : Friday, November 24, 2017
At the entrance hall of the Red Rocks Cultural Centre situated in Nyakimana village in Musanze District, northern Rwanda, is a diminutive construction where one can find the display of various arts and crafts. Exhibition comprises beautiful paintings by Zulu, the center’s resident artist, along with different eye-catching locally made handcrafts. At a fleeting look, you might think it to be yet another Rwanda art gallery unless you hear the story behind.
Red Rocks Cultural Centre initiated a program for the first time in 2011. It was targeted to endorse artist-related activities in a way to conserve the environment in and around the Volcanoes National Park. After six years, the local community has a way through which they produce natural products and create aesthetic pieces of art. They sell those products to visiting tourists. This has eventually made them self-reliant, particularly the local youth and women who are skilled to make such products.
To quote Greg Bakunzi, the founder of Red Rocks Cultural Centre, says of his initiative: “We want to promote environmental conservation through arts and crafts. There are several arsenals in our armory through which we are going to achieve our objectives. After all, arts, crafts and environmental conservation are inextricably linked.”
He further adds by saying everyone can visit Red Rocks to explore his or her talent, and country’s natural heritage must be preserved in anyway.
Bakunzi considers that local community involvement is crucial for sustainable management of protected areas. “As a tourism professional, I have come to realize that local communities are responsible for exerting constant pressures and carrying out illegal activities like poaching and harvesting of forests. I came up with this initiative of arts and crafts as a means to achieve our conservation efforts. Eventually, through the education and advocacy programmes that we have initiated at Red Rocks, we are going to succeed in our efforts to save the environment and our proud natural heritage,” he says.
Tags: Red Rocks tourism