Building Relationships- the way forward for Rwanda

The Rwanda High Commission and Suffolk Council have certainly been breaking bread over the past year! The relationship started when Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk was chosen to host the first ever Rwandan Olympic Team in 2012

Since then, the High Commissioner and other Diplomats at the High Commission have worked closely with Suffolk to keep up the relationship

One of the best relationships formed have been with King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds where the pupils are overwhelmingly enthusiastic to learn about the country, take on the culture , partner and visit schools in Rwanda

Below are a few of the events that have taken place with the school;

RWANDAN EMBASSY VISIT
King Edward VI School and Hardwick Middle School students were excited to be special guests of Rwanda House (The Rwandan High Commission). They were treated to a tour of the embassy, learning about the famous hand-made Peace Baskets as well as other arts, crafts and a sample of traditional Rwandan dancing at the World Travel Market. They were particularly taken by the connoisseur coffee which Wynn Rees, our Fair trade ambassador at King Edward VI has taken to serving to all our guests at school, and will be looking to source a variety of Rwandan products for sale in school. One of the projects our students will be working on is creating markets for Rwandan products in the town, as well as further afield through an online business.

RWANDA WEEK
Spearheaded by our special guests from the Rwandan embassy and diaspora (names), Rwanda week at King Edward VI School saw an explosion of colour and celebration. Students learnt the art of Rwandan bead making, sampled traditional food, hosted charity sports events and held a showcase event for 7 partner schools (some 200 primary school students), focussed around the Olympic and Paralympic values and the link with our Rwandan Olympians. Students watched videos and listened to stories of Rwanda from people with real experiences. The showcase was the launch pad for a town-wide poetry competition to be judged by Waterstones, the prize being a sightseeing trip to London including visits to the Olympic Park and Rwanda House.

Charity work and Rwandan – English school links:
Engalynx and Rwanda Aid charities were represented and a cheque for £2004.27 was presented to Rwanda Aid. Both charities support sustainable development in Rwandan schools. An impressive piece of international liaison between Mururu School (King Edward VI School’s partner school) and Rwanda Aid enabled children in Bury St Edmunds to see video footage of Mururu  school showing a “virtual tour” of their school, a personal address from the Headteacher and a group “hello” to King Edward VI School students. We hope to send King Edward VI staff and students out to Rwanda to work alongside Rwandan students in sports leadership, dance, music, drama and art projects as well as literacy and maths.

English and PE lessons
PE lessons focussed around how the government in Rwanda is using sport to develop solidarity, reconciliation and relationships. Three hundred and fifty students fourteen year old (year 9) students developing poetry styles in English lessons through the stimulus of the film “Hotel Rwanda” and the Olympic Values

Other events
Other events included film screenings, African drum workshops, displays of Rwandan arts and crafts, assemblies tracing the recent history, and focussing on the current status of Rwanda as a beacon of good practice in Africa.

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