The Thomas Hardye School

“…….the body succumbed, but the spirit never did”. 

Year 9 remembers Rwanda and honours its development during
World In Dorset Day 2014


World in Dorset


This year’s World In Dorset Day (WIDD14) looked at the development of Rwanda since the genocide against the Tutsi of 1994.   Friday 4th July 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the end of the genocide in which 1million people were murdered in 100 days.  This anniversary day marked the end of 100 days of global commemorations known as Kwibuka20Kwibuka is the Rwandese word for ‘remember’, and The Thomas Hardye School has been involved in the UK Kwibuka20 efforts throughout the year.  WIDD14 began with a look at the build up to, and carrying out of, the genocide against the Tutsi from Belgian colonisation after World War 1, through the independence movement and on to the genocide itself.  There was then a short act of commemoration with 100 year 9 students forming a chain of remembrance by passing a flame from one candle to another, until finally lighting the Kwibuka candle on the stage which burned throughout the day.  During the short period of reflection and remembrance observed by the whole of year 9, it was noted that each individual candle flame represented 10, 000 victims of the genocide and that, if a minutes silence was observed for each of the victims, the year group would in fact be silent for 2 years.  Reactions afterwards from year 9 were of shock and sadness in that they had little to no idea about the 1994 genocide with one student remarking “it’s incredible to think that 1million people were murdered whilst the world watched and did nothing.  It makes me angry and ashamed.” 

After the act of commemoration the day quickly moved on to what has happened since the liberation of Rwanda by the Rwandan Patriotic Front on July 4th 1994 mostly under the leadership of President Paul Kagame.  Year 9 heard from Matthew Bell, Devin Read, Heather Limond, Zoe Barnes and Ike Shackleton from Writhlington School via Skype who, under the direction of Writhlington teacher Mr Simon Pugh-Jones, have established a hugely successful project of orchid seed growing. This not only provides scientific skills, knowledge and money for the UK side of the project, but during visits to Rwanda, the Writhlington students are passing on their expertise to students in Rwanda in order to play a small part in the continued development of Rwanda.  Writhlington School is of comparable socio economic dynamics as The Thomas Hardye School, and their story illustrates just how ‘ordinary’ students can make a very clear difference in a developing nation.  More academic based sessions saw year 9 being stretched and challenged in Humanities and Science by looking at the complicated choices governments must make when dealing with aid packages and prioritising development needs, they also looked at the use of minerals in advanced scientific and technological industries.  Year 9 also undertook a workshop with the Aegis Trust looking at the social development in Rwanda since the genocide, and posed tough questions about cohabitation of survivor with perpetrator and bystander, forgiveness and justice.  Year 9 looked at some of key success stories from the past 20 years, but with much still to be achieved in Rwanda, year 9 received a short talk from Samuel Baker, a Rwandan student currently studying at the London School of Economics and member of the Aegis Trust, on the problems that still face Rwanda in the years to come.  

Pupil feedback on WIDD14 included comments such as, “the humanities session made my brain hurt, in a good way!”, “awesome day, loved the science stuff!” and “I knew nothing good about Rwanda today and now I know lots”.  Thomas Hardye School Holocaust and Genocide Education Programme Coordinator, Kevin Matthews, said “this was the only Kwibuka20 event, certainly in the UK, perhaps in the world, which has focused on the development of Rwanda since the genocide of 1994.  It is wrong to judge a nation on 100 days of horror and ignore 20 years of success, and as an IoE Beacon School it is our duty to look at all sides.  Not just the horror and heartache, but the hope and highlights of humanity that can be seen when you get down to the individual stories, and away from the clinical statistics.  I am so pleased with the way things have gone today and everyone involved has made a real difference today”. 

World In Dorset Day is an annual interdisciplinary learning day for Year 9 which looks at a global issue of some kind.  World In Dorset Day 2015 is set for Friday 10th July and will look at the issue of international justice. 


Year 9 students making tough choices during the international aid and development session Drama students rehearsing for their performance during the plenary session Part way through the science and technology session experiment looking at mineral use in the mobile phone industry Rwandan, Samuel Baker, from the Aegis Trust looking at social development in Rwanda since the 1994 Genocide with Year 9 students Students lighting memorial candles as part of the Thomas Hardye School Kwibuka20 Commemorations during World in Dorset Day 2014 The Thomas Hardye School Kwibuka20 Candle and Rwandan flag



This video shows the presentation created by some of our students during the day, working with the Drama Department

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This video was produced by St John's School Leatherhead and is used with permission.

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