Habineza Pascal & Irakarama Joselyne

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Irakarama Joselyne’s uncle, Habineza Pascal, is passionate about the value of a cow, and enthusiastically answers all of her questions regarding this Rwandan culture. Although she already understands the benefits of a cow, she does not fully understand the value of a cow. Irakarama Joselyne wants to know the reason why dowry is almost always done with a certain number of cows, and her uncle explains the significance of this transaction. He even touches upon an example of a government program called “one cow per family,” a system that helps fight poverty and malnutrition.

“In our culture as Rwandans we use cows all the time. For example when a boy loves a girl, and they want to get married they talk to their parents. And after the two families have met, dowry is almost always in a certain number of cows! So a boy cannot take a girl and make her his wife unless he has cattle?” Irakarama Joselyne

"A long time ago, a cow was a very special thing. So much so that during dowry, parents would decide based on the types of cows offered. These days we have replaced the cows with money and we still talk about the received amount of money as a number of cows. The cow is not a bride’s price; it a sign-symbol representing a bond between two families. A sign showing that new love needs to be nourished in order to grow and develop.” Habineza Pascal

Listen in Kinyarwanda : 
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SEPTEMBER 2014 - Archival Science 14 (Nos. 3-4, 2014): 275-306. Available here


OCTOBER 2014 - Founder and Director Patricia Pasick, Ph.D. has been honored as a 2014 Purpose Prize Fellow which recognizes “outstanding social innovators over aged 60 who are working to change the world by finding solutions to challenging social problems.“

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