Star School Music Program

Kigali, Rwanda

In 2010, Playing For Change Foundation joined LEAF International to help provide drum and dance training to the LEAF Intore Cultural Troupe, a group of young, many of whom grew up on the streets of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.  As a result of the 1994 Genocide and the AIDS epidemic, 70% of the Rwandan population is under 30, and countless members of this subgroup are orphans who lack housing and education.

The Intore Culture & Music Program has offered weekly traditional drumming and performance classes to up to 14 young men. These classes help to preserve and perpetuate Rwanda's musical traditions. Through the synergy of music education and cultural immersion, the young men have been able to develop self-esteem, discipline, performance skills and community connection in a nurturing and creative environment.

"The music has changed us. We now feel proud and have hope. Through music and performance, we are example students to the rest of our community and our country" - LEAF Intore Cultural Troupe program participants.

In 2012, we expanded the program and partnered with Star School, a primary and secondary school located in Masaka, just outside of Kigali.  We provided the students with a series of workshops, led by members of the LEAF Intore Troupe. The Playing For Change Foundation purchased instruments for the school and funded teacher stipends for ten drum and dance workshops held over the course of the year. These workshops introduced the power of music to a new group of young people while offering them a connection to their country's rich cultural traditions. In addition, the workshops provided valuable teaching experience to the Intore Troupe members who led the sessions.

In 2013, we strenghtened our partnership with Star School to create a more permanent program. For the first time, a PFCF program will officially include sports as one of the disciplines. Emmanuel, our young soccer teacher explains that sport is an ideal complement for the education of the kids. This new program will take place at Star School, a primary and secondary school founded a few years ago by Bishop Nathan Amooti in order to provide education to more than 600 underprivileged children.




Djembe (Hand Drum)

Locally made instrument benefiting a child and village craftsman.

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One Month’s Salary

Provides one month’s salary for a music teacher in Nepal.

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Apr 17, 2014

Jean Paul Samputu on Music and Forgiveness, 20 Years After the Rwandan Genocide

by Playing For Change Foundation

Twenty years ago, Rwandan musician Jean Paul Samputu was one of the few members of his immediate family who was not killed during the genocide. Here, he speaks with us about his journey to survive, to forgive and to begin again. Music was critical to him finding his way.


The Star school is a primary and secondary school that provides education for more than 600 children. Nearly 200 of them stay at the school the all week. It is located in the village of Masaka, 10 miles East of Kigali.

  • Traditional Music,  Dance & Sports

    The Star School Music and Sports program provides percussion and dance classes to over 50 children twice a week as well as sports training to the students of the primary and secondary school at Star School. 

    … more

  • Samuel

    Samuel is a profesional dancer and drummer from Kigali who has participated with numerous music projects in the country and abroad and a member of the ballet of Kigali.

  • Emanuel

    Emmanuel is a sports educator specialized in volley ball and soccer

  • Ezequiel

    Ezequiel is a maths teacher at Star School who assists the music and sports program