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Building Hope and Healthcare in Rwanda

Margaret Mason and Twa friend
Margaret Mason and Twa friend

Sociology major Margaret Mason’s SURF grant has enabled her to spend most of the summer in Rwanda, gathering information on the extent to which Rwandan Twa (Pygmy) members, a historically marginalized community, face institutional discrimination from healthcare providers.

Mason is collecting data from Twa residents of Cyaruzinge Village, and she will use that to determine a need for funding for a non-discriminatory hospital/healthcare facility near the village. “First and foremost, my aim is to draft of a grant proposal for funding the Health Development Initiative (HDI) hospital project,” she said. “While Keene State architecture students are currently designing the facility under the direction of Dr. Donna Paley, it will never be a reality without funding. My hope is to be part of the team that launches funding for this medical facility. Accomplishing this goal will mean working with the Twa to advance their access to medical treatment that they rightfully deserve.”

Besides helping to bring critical medical services to the Taw and other marginalized Rwandans in desperate need, Mason is developing skills that will allow her to become an even more effective force for good in the world. “Because I will be conducting the needs assessment within a Participatory Action Research model, my goal is to learn how to conduct this research in a professional and respectful manner since it requires me to work closely with the Twa community and the HDI professional staff. I therefore hope to increase my ability to work with a socially marginalized group in a less developed country since my career goal is to work in the field of humanitarian aid and peace building.”

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