On 18th Feb 2018, twelve students travelled to Bosnia on the pioneering Future Leaders in Schools programme. The Future Leaders In Schools (FLIS) programme is designed to inspire young people to evoke change in their own communities by learning the lessons from Srebrenica.
Newport Girls High School, George Dixon Academy, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys and Solihull School, all located in the West Midlands, were selected to be part of the exciting FLIS programme. The schools had previously worked closely with Remembering Srebrenica to teach their students about the need to tackle hatred through commemorating the genocide and doing workshops to learn the lessons from it.
The visit is part of a year-long programme that aims to educate young people about the Srebrenica genocide – the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War, and the consequences of hatred. The students attended workshops before and after the delegation ,as well as the four-day visit to Bosnia in order to equip them with the knowledge and confidence to share what they have learned with their schools and wider communities.
The group of students learned about the genocide in Srebrenica which happened 23 years ago, when Ratko Mladić and his Bosnian Serb forces marched into the town of Srebrenica and systematically murdered over 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys. They heard from survivors of the genocide and relatives of the victims.
Whilst in Bosnia, attendees on the FLIS delegation were asked to keep a journal of their thoughts and reflections. Newport Girls High School student, Elizabeth Harrison, wrote in her ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ diary:
“We met Fadila, one of the Mothers of Srebrenica who survived the genocide. I was inspired by her strength and her efforts to educate others about the dangers of letting hatred going unchallenged. I found visiting Srebrenica deeply moving and will do everything I can to ensure something like this does not happen again.”
Reflecting on the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ delegation, Chrissie Bate from Solihull School wrote in her diary:
“Meeting Genocide survivors was such a humbling experience. I hope that others are able to go on this delegation so that we don’t ignore what happened at Srebrenica.”
The Future Leaders in Schools programme is one aspect of Remembering Srebrenica’s wider education programme, which over the last five years, has seen over 75,000 children benefit from its work in schools.Commenting on the recent delegation and wider FLIS programme, Remembering Srebrenica Education Manager, Rebecca Heron, said:
“Visiting Bosnia and hearing from survivors of the genocide is a moving but vital experience and it is clear to see the impact these visits have on young people. We have taken nearly a thousand people on the Lessons from Srebrenica programme over the last three years and all have returned to become Community Champions, promoting safer, stronger and more cohesive communities in the UK. We are looking to build long-term relationships with these young people and work with them, not just throughout the year, but also to follow their progress after they leave school, either through university or into forthcoming careers, to support them in their role as future leaders against hatred and intolerance.”
Remembering Srebrenica works to honour and remember the victims and survivors of the genocide and learn lessons from this horrific crime to show where hatred and discrimination can lead. It organises the UK Srebrenica Memorial Day on the EU-wide day of remembrance for the victims of the genocide on 11 July.