In November, the GLHS Holocaust and Genocide class attended a high school leadership conference at  Kean University and were honored to listen and meet Kizito Kalima, a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. Prior to meeting Mr. Kalima, many of us were unaware of the Rwandan Genocide. We discovered in 1994, after years of division between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes, tensions came to a head and hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children were slaughtered because they were part of the Tutsi tribe. Neighbors turned against their neighbors and it is estimated that the genocide took over 800,000 lives. 

As Mr. Kalima shared his personal story, we were horrified and amazed by the tragic events.  Mr. Kalima was only 15 years old during the genocide and did not receive a high school education until he was recruited to play basketball at a boarding school. He accredits the boarding school with the chance to leave Rwanda and jump start a new life with the most valuable asset he could have obtained; an education. 

What is truly remarkable is Kizito Kalima is how he copes as a survivor. He has created a foundation to accomplish his dream of building a school in his hometown. Since both his parents were teachers, he has always wanted to create a school in their honor. The school that he aims to build for the young people of Rwanda will further their education, help promote tolerance and prevent another genocide. Mr. Kalima is truly an inspiration and our class was challenged to spread genocide awareness. We decided to fundraise for Kitzito Kalima’s foundation to help educate the youth of Rwanda but also educate our peers about genocide. 

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There are millions of people around the world who have stories that are similar to Mr. Kalima that are waiting to be told. Throughout the week of January 21, our class will share five stories from genocides that occurred across the world in hopes to spread awareness. In order to raise money, a fundraiser will take place on January 27th from 5-9 at Chipotle in New Providence (1260 Springfield Ave- please use the flyer or download the image when you attend). Please join us to help combat genocide. 

“Fight genocide, spread awareness, eat for change”.

 Thank you, The GLHS Holocaust and Genocide class 2020