1 June 2012 - Clive Owen – star of ‘Hemingway & Gellhorn’ – took a break from filming ‘Blood Ties’ with Mila Kunis this week to throw his support behind www.riding4charity.org, the first-ever London to Paris fund-raising bike ride for the Aegis Trust, for which he is Ambassador.
The ride is raising funds specifically for Aegis’ peace-building education programme in Rwanda, helping a new generation to learn about the dangers of prejudice and building trust between the children of survivors and perpetrators.
“I’m supporting www.riding4charity.org because Aegis’ peace-building education programme in Rwanda is making a vital, unique contribution to that country’s future,” says Clive. “The World stood by when a million Rwandans were slaughtered in 1994, and the next generation deserve all the help we can give them to ensure history isn’t repeated.
“About half of Rwanda’s people today are too young to remember the genocide for themselves, but I’ve seen for myself the impact of its legacy on the second generation,” says the actor, who visited Rwanda with the Aegis Trust in 2010.
“How these young people deal with the weight of the past on their shoulders is critical,” he adds. “It’s going to determine whether Rwanda becomes increasingly stable, or increasingly at risk of renewed division and bloodshed in the future. Aegis is the only organisation providing peace-building education of this kind in Rwanda, so let’s give them all the help we can.”
“Besides being a brilliant actor, Clive Owen is also a passionate humanitarian and we’re absolutely thrilled to have his support,” says Dr James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust, and one of the cyclists taking part in the London-Paris ride. “I hope all those reading this will join Clive in lending us their backing.”
Thanks to match-funding of up to US$100,000 for the Aegis Trust’s peace-building education programme from OneWorld Boston, a Cummings Foundation Affiliate in the United States, Aegis is now able to double every pound or dollar contributed through sponsorship for the London-Paris ride – making each donation worth twice as much.
Recent independent analysis has found that not only is the education programme changing attitudes and behaviour among the students taking part, but also among the school communities from which they come – including fellow students who didn’t attend.
“Before the workshop, I used to hear people saying that this student is a Tutsi and that one is a Hutu,” comments one student who took part. “So, according to what my parents had told me, I had to avoid any Tutsi student at all cost and I believed that they should also avoid me because I thought that their parents also briefed them about it. But I attended the workshop, and I have understood that we can socialize and help one another because any student is my colleague without discrimination.”
“This visit changed something in our school,” comments a student among those who didn’t attend the workshop personally. “Some students could have bad attitudes like hating your colleague but with the discussions we had after the visit, this has changed.”