Our Christmas Camp was just the START, 2023 we are COMING!

A New Year is almost here, and hopefully you have been having a great time with family and friends this Holiday season.

For us at Gorilla Highlands Experts, Christmas began with our camp on 21 December at Cyuza Island on Rwanda’s Lake Burera …

We socialised, enjoyed fresh salads and hot coffee, drove and paddled through breathtaking views, and listened to expert sessions and silly jokes.

This was the very first Youth Spaces experience, focussing on key needs of young Gorilla Highlands future leaders: personal development, civic engagement and regional peacebuilding.

The concept of an international Christmas Camp was just plain beautiful — uniting more than twenty youngsters from Burera (RW), Kabale (UG), Kabuga (RW), Kigali (RW), Lwiro (DRC), Musanze (RW) and Rwamahano (UG) to build the future of Youth Spaces.

For two nights and three days we all truly engaged, bringing our differences, past experiences and personalities together.

We grew and learned as expert speakers covered digital literacy & empowerment (Miha Logar), creativity & homegrown solutions (Jacky Kayitare of Handspun Hope), entrepreneurship & self-reliance (Giuseppe Lippolis of Cyuza Island) and nature & conservation (Prosper Uwingeli of Volcanoes NP). 

The essential issue of cultural self-respect was tackled by watching The Bakiga documentary, another pillar of what we want to pilot in Musanze in 2023!

The island sessions took mere hours, but we will soon have months at our disposal to give every subject due attention.

For example, the digital literacy presentation was inspiring, helping campers realise their need to familiarise themselves better with their gadgets if they are to be at the forefront of digitising their communities — but how to best do such training on a continuous basis?

Even if you weren’t at the Christmas Camp, you can still join us and participate in the brainstorming ahead; just have a look at our Trello board and start contributing to the unique collection of ideas!

Let’s continue to work towards a booming region with prosperous individuals who live in harmony with nature — the region we have always dreamt of.

Happy 2023, everyone!

The 2022 Christmas Camp was sponsored by iPROM and Aljoša Trivan; in this photo Campers chat with iPROM ladies.

featured image by Miha Logar, video by Safari Ombeni, photos by both


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