Centre benefit concert raises more than $10,000 for genocide victims
While the study abroad experience at Centre College allows students to become citizens of the world, a group of students who traveled to Rwanda and Uganda during CentreTerm used their transformative experience abroad to serve the global community even after they returned home.
Inspired by the time they spent with genocide survivors in Rwanda, students organized a benefit concert called twenty aprils, commemorating the 20-year anniversary of the genocide. Their goal was to raise $10,000 for the widows and orphans left behind after 800,000 Rwandans were killed in 1994, and between concert ticket sales and individual gifts, they exceeded that number, raising $10,265.
Assistant Professor of History Jonathon Earle led the course in Africa this past January and oversaw the students’ efforts. He is grateful to the Centre community for coming together to make this event such a success.
“We wish to thank everyone who contributed. This was truly a community effort,” says Earle. “It utilized over 70 student volunteers, representing numerous student organizations, including athletics, Bonner, Greek and Posse.”
College faculty and staff, as well as members of the Danville community, were also instrumental in coordinating the concert that took place Friday, April 25, at the end of West Walnut Street. The event featured music by DJ Auzey, powder paint and food.
In partnership with Good News International, a non-profit grassroots organization that supports genocide victims, the money raised by Earle and students will go toward income-generating projects and counseling services for Rwandan survivors.
While in Rwanda, students visited several massacre sites and met survivors to hear their stories. These life-changing moments abroad motivated students like Sarah Brown ’14 to do something to give back to these communities.
“After seeing the hope and resilience of the genocide survivors, there was no way we could come back and not do something to help them,” she explains. “They are so rich when it comes to relationships, community and optimism, so we just wanted to give them anything we possibly could. The concert was such a success, and I know that the Rwandan people will be forever grateful.”
Michaela Manley ’15 was also part of the CentreTerm class and was deeply moved by their encounters with survivors.
“They are all struggling in one way or another but go out of their way to show kindness and care toward others,” she says. “They place an emphasis on community instead of on the individual. This is something we should all strive for.
“These people inspired our CentreTerm group,” she adds, “and I’m very happy that twenty aprils was successful so that we could show them that they are not forgotten by their friends in America.”
by Caitlan Cole