On 27th and 28th February, Rwandan genocide survivor and educationalist Freddy Mutanguha is visiting Nottingham and Manchester to thank local property managers for helping save lives in the heart of Africa through their partnership with the White Rose recycled fashion stores. Clothing banks to collect donations from the public are hosted for White Rose at properties across the region.
White Rose supports the peace-building educational work of the Aegis Trust in the Central African Republic, Kenya, South Sudan and Rwanda, where Freddy lost around 80 members of his family in the genocide that saw a million Tutsis murdered in just 100 days in 1994.
Now Regional Director for the Aegis Trust, Freddy drew on his tragic personal experience to inform the creation of the peace education programme which helps young people from divided communities to overcome fear and hostility, developing critical thinking, empathy, trust and personal responsibility.
“I cannot overstate the value of what these brilliant British property managers are doing – and I’m so glad to share with some of them in person how communities are being transformed and lives are being saved as a result,” says Freddy.
Clothing banks hosted across the Midlands contribute tons of clothing and shoes for the White Rose stores each year, generating tens of thousands of pounds for the Aegis Trust from the sale of handpicked recycled fashion.
In Rwanda it costs £650 to run a one-day peace education workshop for 40 students and teachers, the outcomes of which are invaluable. “When we started, we knew education was our only hope but we didn’t know if real peace could be achieved after genocide,” says Freddy. “Now, we have independent analysis showing our work achieves measurable change in attitudes and behaviour.”
At one peace education workshop in Rwanda, a student whose family were murdered in 1994 stood up and said, “thank you for saving my life and the lives of the people I was going to kill in revenge.” Similar responses have occurred in other countries, since Aegis has begun taking its programmes beyond Rwanda’s borders. In the Central African Republic, a workshop participant met a former assailant on the way home. “Had I not just been learning about peace, today I would have killed you,” he said. “Instead, please join me for the next peacebuilding workshop tomorrow.”
“The change being achieved in the lives of individuals and communities is very real,” says Dr James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust and President of the National Holocaust Centre & Museum, from which Aegis developed 18 years ago. “It could not be done without the support of so many incredible companies and institutions across the Midlands – and the generosity of all the people who use their clothing banks to donate to the cause of peace.”
Firms which host White Rose clothing banks in Manchester include Revolution Property Management, Rendall and Rittner, Zenith Property Management, Braemar Estates, urbanbubble and Manchester Residential Management. In Nottingham they include FHP and FHP Living, Truelove Property Management, Marco Island, Litmus Building, River Crescent, Cranbrook House, 111 Ropewalk and Walton and Allen (including The Hicking Building). In Leeds, they include City Island managed by Inspired Property Management and Waterside managed by Savills Property Management.