My name is Christina Thomson and I am a Remembering Srebrenica Community Champion from Manchester. I had the privilege of taking part in the first ever all women delegation to Bosnia-Herzegovina early last year where I fell in love with this beautiful country and the astonishing people who live there. I have held BiH very close to my heart since my return.
In January 2016, Remembering Srebrenica took me and my delegation on our “Lessons from Srebrenica” journey over to Bosnia-Herzegovina. We stayed in the stunning capital city of Sarajevo, visiting many places across the country. Notably, we travelled to Medica Zenica (an NGO which provides support services to survivors of trauma and violence), Tuzla – where we met with Professor Jasmina Husanović (gender studies lecturer at the University of Tuzla) and the town of Srebrenica itself. One of the most memorable moments of our trip is when we met with Munira Subašić, the president of the Mother’s Association of Srebrenica, and listened to her story of loss, courage and empathy. I felt a great respect and admiration towards the people of Bosnia throughout my trip, whose depth of compassion and forgiveness towards those who had harmed their community absolutely floored me. This experience will be with me for the rest of my life
Since my return to the UK, I have taken part in and supported various events with the charity. I have now decided to do something of my own to try and give back to them in whatever small way I can, as they have given so much to me. I have chosen to attempt the challenge of the National Three Peaks and use this as an opportunity to fundraise for Remembering Srebrenica. I have managed to convince my partner, father and brother into completing this with me. It will involve climbing the largest mountain in each of England, Scotland and Wales. This constitutes 24 miles of walking, 10,000 feet of ascent and 450 miles of driving… all to be completed in 24 hours.
Last summer I took part in Remembering Srebrenica’s first UK Peach March – a 23-mile walk between Blackburn Cathedral and Manchester Cathedral, stopping at various places of worship along the way of multiple faiths. This walk was done in solidarity with the March of Peace in Bosnia, a 3 day 120km trek through the mountains to commemorate the journey that many men and boys of Srebrenica took to escape the Serb forces during the genocide, most of which did not survive. During the physical strain and endurance of the National Three Peaks, I hope to once more reflect on this journey and remember the lives lost, who are more than worthy of my thoughts.
To train for this challenge I have been out climbing as much as I physically can in the past 6 months. I have travelled from Wales to Scotland, bagging mountains in preparation and have climbed some of the Yorkshire Three Peaks as a taster. I have had my alarm set to go off at the break of dawn every Saturday for as long as I can remember now, in order to jump on the first train into the peak district so that I can get in a full day of walking in the hills. Now the time is drawing near (2 weeks to the moment of writing this I will be mid-way through my challenge) I am starting to feel very nervous! I am trying to work out all of the logistics; what to bring, to eat, map my route – it is going to be a very busy fortnight, I am sure! Remembering Srebrenica has been there with me every step of the way in my planning, supporting me in every instance and even linking me up with a volunteer driver from the RS community. Once again, this reinforces that this is an amazing and supportive community, where it’s members really looks after each other.
Remembering Srebrenica really is one of the worthiest organisations I have been in contact with and that is why I am determined to complete this challenge in aid of the work that they do. The people of Srebrenica and BiH deserve their stories to be listened to far and wide; they have earned our support and a right to rebuild their beautiful country. In today’s political climate, the lessons from Srebrenica are more prevalent than ever: promoting tolerance and fighting discrimination. I must help the people of Bosnia’s voices to be heard and to become our role models of bravery and compassion. Please, help me to support them in whatever way you can.
Visit http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/srebrenicathreepeaks or text RSTP99 £5 to 70070.
Love, Peace and Empathy,