The Rebecca Davis Dance Company (RDDC), a USA Ballets Dance Company operating in Rwanda is empowering the youth impacted by the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi through dance.
Founded by Rebecca Davis in 2005, RDDC is an international non-profit using dance as a tool to educate and empower street children in post conflict countries including Rwanda.
The company opened shop in Rwanda in 2008 when Davis traveled to post-genocide countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Guinea as well as Rwanda to examine the effects of ethnic conflict and the steps towards reconciliation.
During her travels, she discovered a parallel—street child who had a deep love of dance.
Returning to RDDC in Philadelphia, she decided to begin projects abroad that would give street children a safe haven through dance classes.
As Rebecca’s knowledge and experience grew in the field of international development, she realized that RDDC could be positioned to help children in post-conflict areas if the dance lessons were combined with an educational model to develop street children’s basic skills.
According to Davis, RDDC has introduced standardized dance and IT curricula that focus on physical movement and vocational training.
Street children need this type of dual preparation before reintegrating into society, and RDDC employs local teachers to provide this training.
In 2010, the RDDC Board of Directors decided to re-orient the company to solely focus on developing these programs abroad. Presently, RDDC has local staff in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guinea and Rwanda.
These teams work with RDDC in the USA to operate the children’s programs and host international dance instructors and educational specialists to provide the ongoing services to the local population.
A recent study conducted jointly by the National Commission for Children (NCC), and Hope and Homes for Children, a local NGO, shows that 3153 children are housed in centers, some of which even accommodate young people aged 20.
In 2012, the government of Rwanda launched an initiative that targets to close down all orphanages by the end of 2014 and find Rwandan foster parents for orphans.