Graduate's Role In Rwanda's Recovery

16 February 2011

Sam Boarer

Sam Boarer (far right) with one of the Aegis' Discover Rwanda groups, and Rwandan Minister for Culture and Sport Joseph Habineza (in middle, wearing suit).

It [the hostel] offers visitors comfort, security and a great location where they could also learn about Rwanda and interact with the local community.

Sam Boarer

Sam Boarer

A Derby graduate working to raise awareness of genocide in the former war-torn African country of Rwanda has helped establish its first youth hostel.

University of Derby graduate Sam Boarer is an International Co-ordinator for Aegis Students, part of the Aegis Trust; a UK charity which uses education and youth programmes to raise awareness internationally of genocide. Around 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, a result of tribal conflict.

Aegis Trust runs educational 'Discover Rwanda' trips for students to learn about the genocide. The University of Derby finances an annual Rwandan scholarship project, for two of its students to visit the country.

As part of his work Sam has now helped establish Rwanda's first youth hostel for visitors

The site in the Kacyiru area of Rwanda's capital city, Kigali, offers visitors a safe and affordable place to stay. Local people work there and are welcomed there, and all profits are invested back into the local community and Aegis Trust programmes.

Sam, 25, originally of Egmanton, Nottinghamshire, graduated from Derby with a BSc (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree in 2010.

He said: "Accommodation in Rwandan hotels can be pretty expensive and we saw a clear need and opportunity to provide an affordable place to stay. It offers visitors comfort, security and a great location where they could also learn about Rwanda and interact with the local community.

"It is about providing an exchange between the local community and visitors. If you're staying in a hotel it can be easy to become a little disconnected from the society around you but, at the Discover Rwanda Hostel, we wanted to be more hands on. We provide a place where visitors can get involved and talk to members of the Rwandan community."

Dr James Smith, co-founder and Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust, added: "This is a very practical expression of doing something which is benefiting people in the community recovering from the effects of genocide. At the same time we are providing an environment where people can be informally educated about genocide and doing it in a way that is self sustaining."

Feedback from guests has included that they found the hostel very welcoming and that they chose to stay there because they knew their money would go back into the local community.

Rwandan Mukansanga Vestine works in the hostel's kitchens. She lost a child during the genocide.

Mukansanga said: "Discover Rwanda is good because we don't want what happened in Rwanda to happen again. We want all people to learn about the genocide and not forget."

For further information about the hostel visit: www.hostelkigali.com. Find out more information about the work of the Aegis TrustAegis Students  or for information on Rwanda visit www.discoverrwanda.org.

For further media information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email s.kirby@derby.ac.uk.

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