Two USC Shoah Foundation staff members gave a presentation to 120 high school students from all over the world who are in Rwanda for the three-week WiSci Girls STEAM Camp.
Part of the White House’s Let Girls Learn initiative, the WiSci STEAM camp (STEAM represents science, technology, engineering, math, art and design) brings together 30 American high school girls and 90 high school girls from all over Africa for three weeks of intensive curriculum and collaborative projects in computer science, robotics, design, art and culture. The camp aims to empower young women with leadership potential in these typically male-dominated fields.
The three-week camp kicked off last weekend with an opening ceremony followed by a brief presentation on Rwandan history and the Rwanda Tutsi Genocide at Gashora Girls Academy. This was meant to prepare the campers for their upcoming visit to Kigali Genocide Memorial for a session on peace-building.
The presentation was given by Davis Wamonhi, a teacher at Kagarama Secondary School who was one of the first teachers to conduct a classroom pilot of IWitness in Rwanda, and Rose Twagiramariya, USC Shoah Foundation Rwandan educational administrator.
Wamonhi spoke briefly about Rwandan colonial history and the causes and consequences of genocide. He also showed the IWitness website and two clips of testimony from the Visual History Archive, featuring both Rwandan and Holocaust survivors who talk about stereotyping and relations between Tutsis and Hutus before the genocide.
After the presentation, Wamonhi met with the students individually to answer any questions they had.
Twagiramariya said the students were very engaged throughout the presentation and asked insightful questions about how genocide is possible and why the rest of the world didn’t intervene.