Inside IWitness: “Information Quest: Kizito Kalima”

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00pm

Inside IWitness is an ongoing series that will profile each activity in IWitness, along with a clip featured in the activity and a teacher who uses IWitness in his or her classroom

The Kizito Kalima Information Quest in IWitness introduces students to the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide and the story of Kizito Kalima, one of its survivors.

Kalima survived hiding, attempted mass executions and the deaths of many family members as a child during the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide. He recorded his testimony in 2010 from his home in Indianapolis, where he lives with his wife and their two adopted daughters, who are also survivors of the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide.

After becoming acquainted with Kalima’s biography and the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide, students choose to watch one of seven clips about specific aspects of Helen’s survival, including Hope for the Future, Experience of Genocide, and Indivisual Culpability. From the clip they choose, they create a word cloud featuring the clip’s themes, people, places, emotions and other aspects that stand out to them. Students share their word clouds with each other and comment on each other’s work.

While in Los Angeles for a family reunion last year, Kalima visited the USC Shoah Foundation office to meet the staff and find out more about how his testimony is being preserved and used to educate students about genocide.

During his visit, Kalima visited the ITS office and high-tech facility where USC Shoah Foundation’s 53,000 interviews are preserved, catalogued and made available to millions of viewers worldwide.

He then met with the education staff, who demonstrated IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive, educational website that teaches students about genocide and tolerance through testimony.

Kalima said this visit was the first time he had ever seen IWitness, and his testimony, in action, teaching students about genocide. He said he’s glad that the testimonies show kids the causes and consequences of genocide, and that many testimonies set a positive example by showing how survivors have been able to move on after their ordeal.

 “I had heard about IWitness, but I didn’t know how it works. I never got the chance to see how kids use [testimonies], choosing which clips they want to watch,” Kalima said. “[To see my testimony in IWitness] is humbling and exciting. It’s my dream.”