Teenagers to study genocide

11th July 2003 at 01:00
In what is thought to be the first field trip of its kind, sixth-formers from an Oxfordshire comprehensive are to spend three weeks in Rwanda collecting accounts of the genocide.

On Sunday, six students from the Henry Box school in Witney fly out to meet survivors of the 1994 slaughter, when more than 800,000 Tutsis and sympathetic Hutus were murdered by Hutu militiamen in a 100-day massacre.

The teenagers have already been given training to help them cope with the experience.

Martyn Beer, the history teacher who organised the trip, said: "We are very aware that the trip will have quite an impact on the students. They have had talks from trauma experts and have been to Auschwitz or the First World War battlefields.

"It's not the obvious way to spend a summer holiday but we had about 40 students interested in the trip. I think, because it all happened in their lifetimes, they feel a sense of responsibility for the response of the UK to the killing.

"We will also be helping rebuild widows' homes and link up with a secondary school in Byumba."

When the six 17-year-olds return they will compile educational and assembly resources for Holocaust Memorial Day in January. Each pupil has raised the pound;1,300 to cover their costs and the group has raised pound;5,000 for Rwandan projects.

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