Manchester launch for pioneering new mentoring scheme to combat hatred

A pioneering new scheme by the charity Remembering Srebrenica to tackle hatred is to be launched at Manchester’s newest restaurant Mumtaz Manchester on Tuesday 20th September.

In response to the recent rise in hate crime, including shocking attacks leading to the death of a Polish man in Essex and a pregnant woman losing her baby after being kicked in a racist attack in Milton Keynes, this pilot scheme is aiming to find new ways to tackle hatred. It will bring together young people to be mentored by senior professionals in becoming Community Champions who can educate people where they live about the consequences of letting hatred and divisive messages go unchallenged.

The launch will see the senior figures, including members of Greater Manchester Police, academics, politicians and business people meeting up with the young delegates who they are mentoring for the first time. It will be a vital opportunity for them to get to know each other and receive information about what to expect on the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ programme where they will learn how lessons from the worst atrocity on European soil since World War Two can be used to help create a better, safer and stronger society in Manchester. The mentors will keep in regular contact with their younger colleagues for 12 months after the visit to Srebrenica and assist them in their work to promote the lessons from Srebrenica.

The delegation will be led by Elinor Chohan, who is chair of the North West Board of Remembering Srebrenica. She said:

“We are very grateful to Mumtaz Manchester for sponsoring the launch, as it will play a key role in ensuring the success of this pilot programme. Remembering Srebrenica are adding this mentoring scheme to an already successful programme that has created 800 Community Champions in the UK. By linking people across different ages, professions, religions and ethnic groups to mentor younger people, this will reinforce the messages even more and we hope it can then be replicated in other cities across the UK.”

Mumtaz Khan the Chairman of Mumtaz Food PLC added:

“We are pleased to be involved with this charity and we support its cause wholeheartedly. As newcomers to the Manchester restaurant scene, we are keen to establish ourselves in the heart of the Manchester community by working with similar projects and charities. The Mumtaz Food group already supports a number of charities and projects and we aim to continue to do so in Manchester and surrounding areas. We are looking forward to welcoming the delegation to our restaurant and wish them all the success in the future.”

The group will learn about the genocide in Srebrenica which happened 21 years ago when General Ratko Mladić and his Bosnian Serb forces marched into the town of Srebrenica and systematically murdered 8372 Bosnian Muslim men and boys. The delegation will hear from survivors of the genocide and relatives of the victims, as well as the International Commission on Missing Persons which has spearheaded the effort to locate and identify the 40,000 people who went missing during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia.

‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ is part of Remembering Srebrenica’s wider education programme which has involved over 21,000 young people. The charity also organises memorial community action across the UK to mark the EU-wide day of remembrance for victims of the genocide.

Remembering Srebrenica’s Chairman, Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, said: “Manchester is again leading the way with this innovative new way to build more cohesive and stronger societies through the use of mentoring. Never has it been more important for us to learn the lessons from Srebrenica. We must take action to build better and safer societies for all, otherwise those who spread divisive messages will go unchallenged in their efforts to breed hatred and intolerance.”

The ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ educational programme will be taking a number of high profile delegations out throughout the next three years. This year the participants include politicians, faith leaders, teachers, barristers, journalists and students all of whom pledge to organise projects in their communities to strengthen community cohesion and create a better society on their return.