CHANGING times in an African state was the focus of a World in Dorset Day at a Dorchester school.

The whole of Year 9 at the Thomas Hardye School spent a day looking at the development of Rwanda over the last 20 years.

The event involved studying the social, cultural, environmental, scientific and technological changes that had happened in the country since the 1994 genocide.

The school was keen to stress that the day was not all about studying genocide itself but instead offered a thought-provoking look at how a nation can pick itself up and develop an enormous amount in a relatively short space of time.

The event was held on the 20th anniversary of the end of the genocide and the start of Rwanda’s rebirth.

After a short briefing on the build up to the genocide and a commemoration to mark the anniversary, attention then turned to looking at more positive themes.

The Thomas Hardye School has been recognised as a Beacon School in Holocaust Education by the Institute of Education.

The status was awarded last year and has seen the school linking up with other schools to lead the way in holocaust education and develop sensitive and innovative ways of exploring the traumatic history of genocide.

Beacon School lead teacher Kevin Matthews said: “The day was a huge success for us and our students have benefited from the activities and the visiting speakers such as the Aegis Trust.

“While the day certainly did not ignore the genocide in Rwanda, we believe we may be one of the only organisations commemorating Kwibohara20 to focus on the positive aspects of Rwanda’s economic and social regeneration.

“Days like this form an important part of our programme, as an Institute of Education Beacon School in Holocaust Education.”