Remembering the genocide that happened 25 years ago in Rwanda, Highgate Wood School held a moving student conference and workshop over the weekend for the local community.
“Kwibuka means ‘to remember’ and describes the annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Kwibuka 25 is a time to Remember by honoring the memory of over one million victims, Unite through the strength and dignity of our nation, and Renew our determination to build a prosperous future for generations to come.” – Ishami Foundation
The event was a success by all accounts and this is due in no small part to the work of Tristan Ashman and the team of staff he worked with to make this happen. I would like to thank them all for giving up their valuable time both prior to and on Saturday. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Patrick Cozier, Headteacher
On Saturday 11th May 2019, Highgate Wood School hosted a conference and workshop for the local community. The purpose of the event was to remember the victims of the civil war and to educate students and guests of the history. We are thankful to the Ishami Foundation for the resources that helped students learn about the genocide in the lead-up to the conference and workshop as well as visiting our school and talking about the genocide against the Tutsi.
The Ishami Foundation is involved in a range of activities for Kwibuka 25, including:
- Providing Rwandan speakers to attend a range of memorial events across the UK
- Producing schools resources featuring personal stories and historical information
- Running a participatory schools programme with 25 schools based in the London area
- Convening a commemoration for Rwandans, friends of Rwanda and London schools at City Hall
- Organising an annual Play2Remember football match in Rwanda and the UK
The day started off with our guest speakers who were survivors of the genocide in 1994 and Catherine West, Labour MP for Hornsey & Wood Green. Our guest speakers told us the story of what it was like during the civil war and how the country has progressed since. After the talks took place, students all designed a page for a multi-school book of remembrance. Four winners were picked for the best page and was awarded tickets to a Stadium Tour at Arsenal Football Club. We had a great turn up, local residents and schools as well as students at Highgate Wood School and some parents attended the event.
The feedback I have had from parents and others have been very positive and it was great being able to involve other schools.
Tristan Ashman, Assistant Headteacher, Computer Science Teacher, Data Protection Officer
The speakers who attended on Saturday was Eric Murangwa Eugene MBE, who was a professional footballer in Rwanda at the time of the genocide and now co-founder of Ishami Foundation, Louise Goux-Wirth, a Rwandan adopted before the genocide as well as a survivor of the war and Alphonsine Kabagabo, a senior officer for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and Deputy Chair of Survivors. Our local MP Catherine West also spoke at our conference.
There was no where to hide or to run, people were just killing everyone everywhere.
Eric Murangwa Eugene, professional footballer during the genocide and co-founder of Ishami Foundation
The conference was emotional and moving as speakers took us through their experiences of the genocide and spoke about how it all started. They also told us how the country has developed since the genocide in 1994. The Rwandan government focused on establishing peace, unity, delivering justice and development. Rwanda is now one of the safest countries in Africa, huge progress has been made and women make up 68% of the parliament.
We look forward to taking the selected students to City Hall for a workshop and Kwibuka 25 Commemoration Ceremony. During the event will be a number of speakers:
- Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
- Yamina Karitanyi, Rwandan High Commissioner
- Jo Ingabire Moys, survivor of Rwandan genocide who moved to London as a teenager
- Linda Melvern, Investigative journalist and author of multiple books about Rwanda
- Kalisa Karemera, Rwandan Community Leader
- Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust