Over the past month, SURF has organised three workshops with schools from London, Oxford and Rugby to enable students to meet with and interview UK-based survivors of the Rwandan genocide about their lives before and after genocide, and experience during it.
The work has been made possible due to a grant from the Young Roots grant programme, of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and is enabling SURF to preserve the vital oral history of UK-based survivors for posterity as well as for future education work in other schools.
As the genocide is still so recent, many survivors are unable to speak publicly about their experiences due to the trauma that results from evoking the memories of that time. However, due to their commitment to share their story with more young people, the concept of the project evolved.
Following the final workshop in Bracknell next month, a concluding event is to be staged on July 5th with all the participants in the programme, which will bring together the survivors whose interviews have been recorded, as well as the students that filmed them, marking the launch of a new online archive with highlights from the interviews.
The event will be conjoined with a student conference, Speaking2Survivors, convened by Hampton School, which will present an opportunity for students from schools across the UK to submit questions to the survivors, along with questions from a number of dignitaries, to learn more about and from their experience. To learn more, then email a.lawrence(at)hamptonschool.co.uk or ensure to check the website here:
The project has been made possible due to the work of SURF education coordinator, Andy Lawrence, and Drew Sutton, Shirley Murgraff, Jean Louis Mazimpaka and Elliott Tucker. However, it is down to the generosity of the participating survivors that have given their time and experience, as well as the students and teachers of the participating schools, and the funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, for which we are truly grateful.