The Thomas Hardye School

THS staff and students attend UK Kwibuka20 commemorations

Students and staff at Conference

Students and Staff with Teresa and Carl Wilkens

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On Saturday April 12th 2014 sixth form students and staff from The Thomas Hardye School attended the UK Kwibuka20 commemorations in Birmingham at the invitation of the Rwandan High Commissioner to the UK.  Kwibuka is the Rwandan word for ‘Remember’ and, in this the 20th anniversary year since the genocide against the Tutsi, there was a particular emphasis upon the future generation remembering the genocide with survivor’s children taking part in the commemorations. 

The commemorations involved speeches, survivor testimonies, and discussions about the genocide, as well as the way Rwanda has developed in the last 20 years.  As an IoE Beacon School in Holocaust Education, the Thomas Hardye School is devoted to the teaching of, learning about and commemoration of previous genocides as well as the prevention of genocide in the future. 

One of the speakers, Carl Wilkens, the American aid worker who refused a US Presidential order to leave Rwanda at the start of the genocide, and who was instrumental in the saving of hundreds of orphans at the Gissimba Orphanage in Kigalli, gave up a large amount of time to talk to THS staff and students about the school’s IoE Beacon School status and reflecting upon the Skype conference he gave during the school’s Holocaust Memorial Week at the end of February this year. 

Kevin Matthews, the Holocaust and Genocide Education Programme Coordinator at the Thomas Hardye school, said “it was an honour and a privilege to be invited to the Kwibuka20 commemorations.  As the only school in the UK to receive an invite, I feel very proud of what The Thomas Hardye School has achieved this year as an IoE Beacon School in Holocaust Education”. 

Following on from this, The Thomas Hardye School’s World In Dorset Day 2014 will look at the development of Rwanda since the 1994 genocide.  The date of World In Dorset Day this year, 4th July, is particularly poignant as it marks the 20th Anniversary of the end of the genocide.    


Read the speech of Rwandan president Paul Kagame by downloading this PDF of the Conference programme.

Kevin and Carl

Kevin Matthews with Carl Wilkens

Beacon logo

Kwibuka 20

April 2014