Good Cause: NOUSPR Culture Tours

NOUSPR Cultural Tours

I’m always on the lookout for fun things to to in Rwanda that go beyond chasing after monkeys and gorillas and this new cultural tour gives visitors and city-dwellers alike an opportunity to get a hands on glimpse into rural life in Rwanda. Plus, your participation supports the National Organisation for Users and Survivors or Psychiatry Rwanda (NOUSPR). You can find out more about the organisation and their tours on their website or Facebook page.

What is the NOUSPR?

NOUSPR is the National Organisation for Users and Survivors of Psychiatry Rwanda that works in the community to help find solutions to the challenges our members face in overcoming trauma, anxiety and depression. The organisation was started in 2007 by Sam Badege who has a background of volunteering in the disability sector and was previously employed by the Supreme Court of Rwanda. Sam decided to setup NOUSPR to response to the needs of people suffering from psychosocial disability. He recognized that there was a need for a strong body to promote and protect their rights and to assist them as they battled with trauma, depression, anxiety and stress. Sam’s passion continues to drive the organization which now has over 1,200 members organized into fourteen groups. NOUSPR has a permanent staff of four and is regularly joined by both local and international volunteers.

By supporting NOUSPR you are helping people who are disadvantaged by their psychosocial disability. Feeling of isolation and stigma are amongst the most commonly voiced concerns alongside low income levels. NOUSPR works to overcome these issues as well as advocating for improved access to justice and the right to vote. NOUSPR believes that no one should feel isolated by disability and that everyone should have the opportunity to seek a fulfilling and active life. All income from our culture tours supports people with psychosocial disabilities.

Why the idea to run cultural tours?

We set up our cultural tours as a way to help our members and give visitors and guests a fun day out at the same time. We believe that interaction with people from other cultures creates positive outcomes for all. We’re developed the concept of Culture Tours in conjunction with our members in an effort to give visitors to Rwanda and others living here insight into the daily life of a rural Rwandan.

We aim to:

  • Give visitors to Rwanda an opportunity to see village life as it is led by local people
  • Provide a method to generate income for our members and improve their livelihoods
  • Combat social isolation for our members
  • Promote dialogue between Rwandans and people from other cultures

What can guests expect?

The tours include activities such as walking to a nearby well to collect and carry water, assisting with digging the vegetable garden and learning how to milk a cow. Guests will also help the villagers to mill grain and make flour the Rwandan way. There will be an opportunity to learn how to weave baskets using banana leaves, make jewellery and other handicrafts and guests will help to prepare traditional food for their lunch.

Guests have told us that they loved the experience and had a great day. Our members who host the tours have gained enormously; not only have they met new people from different cultures but they have gained in confidence and self-esteem. Certainly a great deal of laughter has been generated!

How long do the tours last?

We pick people up at 9:30 am and make our way by four wheel drive to one of our NOUSPR groups. You will need to wear comfortable clothes and strong shoes. On arrival you will be greeted by our members and shown around the village. You will then share some of their daily activities experiencing first hand village life. This will give you a chance to know them. You will experience hands on what it is like to be part of their community. We return you home for 4 pm.

How do people book a tour?

Contact Jackie on +250 (0)782 134 013 or by email on jnamara@nouspr.org.

We charge Rwf 25,000 for each person (with a discounted rate of 20,000RWF for residents).

About Kirsty

A Canadian who left in 2001 to wander around the world in search of sun, beautiful views and goat brochettes. Found Kigali in July 2010 and it seems like the perfect fit. I expect to be here until I get kicked out for defiantly walking on the grass while wearing flip flops.