SMU group visits Rwanda to learn, give supplies

SMU student (now alumna) Astrud Villareal helps with a construction project at the Urukundo Home for Children during a Embrey Human Rights Program trip to Rwanda.

A group of 20 SMU students, faculty and staff will be in Rwanda Aug. 3–13 to witness the deep emotional, physical and environmental scars of genocide while contributing to the African country’s recovery efforts.

After Rwanda’s 1994 civil war, in which as many as a million people were killed in 100 days, “history lives on,” says Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, the trip’s sponsor.

“The ethnic tensions that led to mass slaughter 18 years ago still reside below the surface,” Halperin says. “And while there’s no imminent danger of such ethnic violence reoccurring, Rwandan society is clearly struggling to heal.”

To contribute to the healing process, trip participants will give the Urukundo Home for Children 200 pounds of school supplies donated by the SMU community, 250 pounds of books for children and young adults given by Half Price Books, and $2,000 worth of medical supplies provided in part by Project C.U.R.E., a Denver-based service group for which SMU student Hayley Wagner is a summer intern.

The SMU group also will visit genocide sites and meet with survivors.

For more details about trips sponsored by the Embrey Human Rights Program in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences, visit smu.edu/humanrights or call 214-768-8347.

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