Tag Archives: Conservation Heritage-Turambe (CHT)

Yefei Volunteers With Conservation Heritage – Turambe

Hey there!

My name is Yefei Jin and I’m a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Minneapolis-St. Paul, USA. Earlier this May, I received the fortunate opportunity to get involved with Conservation Heritage-Turambe (CHT). Though a network of local nonprofit organizations based in Musanze, Rwanda, I got connected to Valerie, the Program Director of CHT.

Yefei volunteers with CHT in Rwanda 2014

Not losing much time, I quickly participated in CHT’s weekend visits to primary schools near Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, about an hour drive from Musanze. CHT recognizes the role of Rwanda’s youth in becoming the social change agents of tomorrow. The teachers here including Valerie, Innocent, Olivier, Eusebe, and Eric dedicate their time to educate the children about conservation and health values. In this photo, Valerie is describing one of those values “Staying Healthy”. Today’s lesson was on keeping a clean home to prevent the spread of disease. I had the opportunity to partially teach the class on this topic through songs and ice breakers. The staff here was definitely eager to see new ways of teaching!

Yefei volunteers with CHT in Rwanda 2014

The pedagogy behind CHT’s work with the children utilizes the fine arts as tools to teach, understand, and live out CHT’s 7 values: respect, honestly, trust, creativity, kindness, healthy living, and celebrate. The instruction is delivered in English with Kinyarwanda translation. Here is a photo of a guest presenter suffering from podoconiosis which caused the swelling of her feet. By sharing with the class her experience, she hopes that keeping a clean home will prevent such diseases from happening to others.

Yefei volunteers with CHT in Rwanda 2014

This is a picture of me teaching some wacky handshakes to the students. I’m hugely thankful for the CHT staff to allow me to fully participate in their school visits. They are curious to learn additional strategies on student engagement and fun activities which can be incorporated in future lessons. I bring knowledge on theatre education and as I continue to brainstorm with the staff, we hope to provide the children with a unique and unforgettable experience!

Please keep up-to-date on more Art of Conservation & Conservation Heritage – Turambe news with our e-newsletter. Simply send us your name and contact information to [email protected] Thank you!

Fantastic Updates From Rwanda

From Valerie

Art of Conservation started the one-health awareness programs at the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club. The Rwandan team: Valerie, Eric, Innocent, Olivier, and Eusebe continue carrying on AoC’s work!! If you recall, the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club is one of the great local community initiatives that we have been supporting for eight years. Children are provided the opportunity to exercise, practice teamwork, and gain a sense of accomplishment. In addition to that the club also brings local people together leading to a stronger sense of community and pride while playing sports in the name of conservation.

My colleagues and I say, “Let us carry on this great initiative!” The children are eager to know more about what surrounds them in order to protect them!

Recently, our discussion began with review questions from previous lessons. I ask, “Somebody please tell me the name of Rwanda’s three national parks.” The children raise their hands saying, “Me! Please, me! Please!” This is different from what happens during our lessons with children in schools. They say, “Teacher, teacher!” It draws my attention and makes me happy when I see happy children wanting to respond to questions and eager to learn!

CHT at Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeChildren are excited to respond to the review question before I introduce the new topic of the day.

We distribute a map to each child. I ask them to point to the areas depicting mountain gorilla habitat.

Studying gorilla habitat. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeEach child points and shows me the two places where mountain gorillas live: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virunga Massif.

I keep on monitoring the children to make sure they all understand that our gorillas live in only two places. I know some children are young and they may have been distracted by a passing car on the road since the tennis courts are located next to a main road!

CHT at Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeI help our students study the map.

I guide the kids thoroughly on what the Virunga Massif means with the help of another close-up illustration. They now know that mountain gorillas are not only in Rwanda but in other neighboring countries namely, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They also learn the name of the park in each country. It is such a discovery for these children to know what the Virunga Massif is made up with.

One-health awareness in Rwanda. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeOur youth sports kids ask questions as we study the Virunga Massif.

The next session is the art activity. During this session, children have fun. Their drawings are very good. The first excise they draw a proportional silverback mountain gorilla and the second exercise they draw their own mountain gorilla.

Eric working with kids. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeWith Eric’s instruction, children have fun drawing a proportionally correct silverback mountain gorilla using a pencil and they paint their artwork with watercolors.

Coach Rachid joins. ©Conservation Heritage - TurambeHappily, Coach Rachid joins the children during the workshop. “Do gorillas live in one family?” he asks. This might be our next workshop topic. Let us think about it.

Gorilla drawings. ©Conservation Heritage - Turambe

Stay tuned for more blogs coming!


-Art of Conservation completed seven years of successful conservation programming in Rwanda with the exciting announcement that its local staff has launched their own nonprofit, Conservation Heritage – Turambe (CHT). Turambe means “let us be sustainable” in Kinyarwanda. Please keep up-to-date on more Art of Conservation & Conservation Heritage – Turambe news with our e-newsletter. Simply send us your name and contact information to [email protected] Thank you!-

AoC Completes Six-Year Rwandan Program

From Julie Ghrist

Dear Friends,
In case our exciting transition news has not reached you yet I am posting it here. Art of Conservation and Conservation Heritage – Turambe work would not be possible without your support. Thank you, Julie


International nonprofit to extend one-health conservation education and awareness initiative worldwide; will launch a new program in Guyana next month

Art of Conservation (AoC) caps off six years of successful conservation education programming in Rwanda with the exciting announcement that its local staff are launching their own nonprofit, Conservation Heritage – Turambe (CHT). Turambe means “let us be sustainable” in Kinyarwanda. CHT will carry on independently of AoC by 2014.

Golden Monkey trek AoC Team. Art of Conservation 20132010 team trek to Golden Monkeys in Volcanoes National Park. Left to right: Olivier, Valerie, Innocent, Eric, Eusebe.

“The creation of CHT is incredibly exciting,” says Julie Ghrist, AoC Founder and Program Director. “When we launched our Rwandan program six years ago, we hoped to engage children in conservation, for the benefit of the mountain gorillas as well as for them, their communities, and the environment. We are so pleased to be able to leave a legacy in Rwanda, and AoC will help support the work of the new CHT organization as it develops.”

Eric & Eusebe at Nyange School, Rwanda. Hanging bird houses. Art of Conservation 2013Eusebe and Eric carrying ladder for hanging birdhouses. Nyange School.

The next step for AoC is to expand its programming beyond Rwanda. The Executive Team is actively researching potential locations and partners. “Our art-inspired lesson plans and leadership development programs have universal application,” says Ms. Hanes, Executive Director. “We are very grateful to all who supported our efforts in Rwanda and look forward to expanding AoC programs worldwide.”

Innocent Uwizeye. Art of Conservation. Nyange School 2013Innocent with lots of schoolchildren. Nyange School.

Next month, Ms. Ghrist will join AoC Executive Director Allison Hanes and AoC Board Member Dr. Lucy Spelman to launch a new AoC one-health conservation education and awareness program in Guyana, South America. AoC will partner with Karanambu Trust and Lodge and local communities in the North Rupununi region, a unique wetland/savanna ecosystem that is home to several endangered animals, including giant otters, giant river turtles, giant anteaters, jaguars, howler monkeys, and arapaima—a large freshwater fish.

More information contact [email protected]

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Keep up-to-date on AoC and CHT activities and events by reading our blogs and news at www.art-of-conservation.org and please consider sharing your experience with your friends and family. For more information such as volunteering or to sign up to our monthly newsletter please email [email protected] You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and Youtube.