World of Children Award Stands with International Dignitaries to Remember Rwandan Genocide

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World of Children® Award Co-Founders travel to Rwanda to join international dignitaries in Kigali for April 7 commemoration event, Kwibuka20.

Jessica Markowitz with a student in Richard's Rwanda-IMPUHWE

The genocide in Rwanda was truly horrific, killing as many as a million people by the end, and leaving countless children as orphans. The war left a generation of children at risk, particularly female children, who society often overlooks.

On April 7, World of Children Award’s Co-Founders, Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, will travel to Kigali, Rwanda, to attend the country’s 20th anniversary commemoration event of the 1994 genocide. They will join other international dignitaries in the lighting of the National Flame of Mourning at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center and candlelit vigil at Amahoro stadium. Visit for more information.

April 7 will mark the 20th anniversary of the horrific genocide that began sweeping through Rwanda in 1994. Over the next 100 days, more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed; 300,000 were children.

“While it appears that no amount of remembrance can possibly stop the next genocide from occurring, and there are those who say it is happening right now in places like Syria, we must keep trying and we must remain ever vigilant,” Leibowitz said.

During their trip, Leibowitz and Isaacson-Leibowitz will also visit Richard’s Rwanda-IMPUHWE, a program that provides financial support to low-income girls in Rwanda’s rural town of Nyamata to enable them to complete their primary education and six years of secondary school. Richard’s Rwanda-IMPUHWE was founded by Jessica Markowitz from Seattle, Washington, recipient of the prestigious 2009 World of Children Youth Award.

“The genocide in Rwanda was truly horrific, killing as many as a million people by the end, and leaving countless children as orphans,” Markowitz said. “The war left a generation of children at risk, particularly female children, who society often overlooks. Girls are left in places of tremendous responsibility with no knowledge or support network. Girls have historically been marginalized and denied educational opportunities, especially in the rural areas. Girls are much more likely to drop out, even in the best of times, and barely half of those who enroll in primary school complete their education. And since girls have traditionally struggled in Rwandan society even more than boys, it made sense to make them the focus of my efforts.”

Markowitz also received $15,000 in grant funding from World of Children Award to support girls living in the Bugesera District of Rwanda, paying for their school fees, school supplies, insurance and school uniforms.

Leibowitz, Isaacson-Leibowitz and Markowitz will attend the commemoration event in Kigali to remember the lives of those who were lost and unite with other leading humanitarians to take action against future genocides.

“There are those who will argue that we cannot be the world’s policeman and we cannot go to war every time one of these ugly hatreds reaches their ultimate climax,” Leibowitz said, “but as people of conscience we must be heard and we must stand up for the underprivileged. If we do not, the next genocide will certainly take us and all we love and cherish.”

About World of Children Award

Since 1998, World of Children Award has identified and vetted some of the world’s most promising heroes leading programs for children and granted funds to advance their efforts. The organization’s exhaustive research and vetting of individuals has been hailed by leading philanthropic organizations.

World of Children Award has been featured on the Huffington Post, in Kenneth Cole’s AWEARNESS: Inspiring Stories About How to Make a Difference and The Humanitarian Leader in Each of Us. World of Children Award Honorees have also been featured by The New York Times, CNN, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Fast Company Magazine, People, Glamour, TEEN Vogue, TIME for Kids, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, among several other national and international media. Earning a World of Children Award has often served as a pivotal launching point for recipients.

World of Children Award is led by Co-Founders Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, retired senior executives from Procter & Gamble and Victoria’s Secret respectively, who first started the organization to honor individuals serving children with a Nobel Prize-like award. Since 1998, World of Children Award has granted more than $6 million in cash grants and program support to 100 Honorees who are the driving force behind programs serving children worldwide.

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Brock Weaver
since: 10/2009
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