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For Immediate Release
March 10, 2009

For more information, contact
Janet Roy
(585) 395-2267

800,000 Pennies Program Recognizes Victims of Rwanda Genocide

Brockport, NY - When you stop by Union Square in the Seymour College Union this week, you will see a large box slowly filling up with pennies. The project, “800,000 pennies,” is part of The College at Brockport’s Summer Reading Program.

“800,000 pennies” was created to represent the more than 800,000 genocide victims in Rwanda, the setting for The Bone Woman, by Clea Koff. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda led to the violent death of an estimated one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in just 100 days. Sadly, the misery continues for thousands who live in untold hardship.

In the book, Koff, a twenty-three–year-old forensic anthropologist, recounts her trip to Rwanda as part of a United Nations International Crime Tribunal, unearthing physical evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The book recounts Koff’s investigation in Rwanda as well as six subsequent missions she undertook in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo on behalf of the United Nations.

Proceeds from the “800,000 pennies” program will benefit AVEGA-AGAHOZO, a non-profit organization, created in 1995 by 50 genocide survivors. AVEGA was formed to address the needs of the widows, orphans, the elderly, the handicapped, children who have become the head of a household, and those who have lost all or some of their children.

“Our goal for this project is to help students understand what the number 800,000 looks like. To see 800,000 pennies piled high, students may more easily understand the magnitude of the Rwandan genocide, “ said Andrea Newman, coordinator of the First-Year Experience Program. “We also hope to show the impact that one person can have. Even though a penny is small, if we each drop one into the box, we can make a difference.”

If you would like to donate to the “800,000 pennies” project, visit Union Square Food Court, in Seymour Union. Or, contact the Office of Student Retention at (585) 395-5397 or Andrea Newman.

View a recent story about this project on BTV.

The College at Brockport, State University of New York
350 New Campus Drive * Brockport, New York 14420-2931
(585) 395-2754 * FAX (585) 395-2723 *

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