Sara Lawson – who hails from Carlton, Nottingham and was a regular soloist for Mansfield’s internationally successful Cantamus Choir before becoming a star graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London – will perform in support of Rwandan genocide survivors at the first-ever ‘Discovery Ball’ in the EPIC Centre, Lincolnshire Showground on Saturday 13th October,
Limited tickets are still available for the ball, organised by Lincoln resident Lynsey Collinson following a visit to Rwanda earlier this year with the Aegis Trust. The leading UK-based genocide prevention organisation, Aegis developed from The Holocaust Centre in north Notts and since 2004 has been responsible for the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda’s capital.
“I was so inspired by what Aegis is doing in Rwanda,” says Lynsey. “Providing direct, practical help to enable widows and orphans of the genocide who are still suffering to rebuild their lives, it also operates a unique peace-building education programme bringing children of survivors and perpetrators together to help prevent this kind of tragedy ever happening again.”
All proceeds from the ball, details of which are on Facebook, will support expansion of services at the ‘Discover Rwanda’ Youth Hostel in Kigali, a social enterprise of the Aegis Trust. The hostel provides vital funding both for Aegis’ peace-building education programme and for its assistance to survivors.
“Supporting social enterprises run by Aegis is a really intelligent way to make every penny go even further, so we’re thrilled at Lynsey’s initiative with the ‘Discovery Ball’,” says Sam Boarer, Manager of Social Enterprises for Aegis. A Derby University graduate, Sam set up the youth hostel – the first in Kigali – in 2010. Running the annual ‘Discover Rwanda’ field trip for Aegis Students (the youth arm of the Aegis Trust), he realized that for the cost of renting three weeks’ trip accommodation for a large group of students, it would be possible to start the enterprise as a means to help Aegis’ work all year round.
Providing jobs and training for locals including survivors, the hostel is now popular with budget travellers from around the World – as captured by American filmmaker Mike Shum in this online video when he passed through in 2011. Most significantly, the Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel contributes a growing share of the funding needed to support Aegis’ vital work in the country.
“I’m immensely proud to be performing at the ‘Discovery Ball’,” said Sara Lawson. “It’s not only a creative local fundraising effort in support of people who have suffered so much in Rwanda; it’s also going to be an incredible night. For memorable entertainment in aid of a great cause, you certainly couldn’t do better on 13th October.”