Students in schools across Berkshire will be hearing the dramatic story of a special guest next week; a survivor of the Srebrenica genocide who survived an execution site.
Bosnian Muslim Nedžad Avdić incredibly escaped death at the hands of Bosnian Serb forces 21 years ago, aged just 17, and is coming to Britain to tell his story. When Srebrenica fell and the town was besieged by the Serb militia, Nedžad, his father and uncle fled along with 15,000 others in what became known as “the Death March”. They were captured along the way and taken to a mass execution site. Nedžad was one of only two people who survived, lying among dead bodies until the soldiers left and then crawling through the woods.
The visit has been organised by UK charity Remembering Srebrenica and is supported by Wellington College who are hosting several events. They hope to reach at least 500 young people in this visit and create lasting links with the schools involved, with 7 events taking place across 4 days.
Nedžad will recount his experiences of the genocide and will be joined by Resad Trbonja, who survived the siege of Sarajevo and will share his experiences of the war as well as talking about what people in this country can learn from events in Bosnia.
Remembering Srebrenica Education Manager, Rebecca Heron said:
“Hearing testimony of survivors is a moving but vital experience and we have seen the impact it has on young people. As well as hearing testimony, they will take part in educational activities focusing on the behaviours in society that precede genocide.
“Five hundred young people will be inspired next week to take personal actions that help to tackle hatred, build stronger, more cohesive communities and ensure Srebrenica is never forgotten.”
As well as speaking to pupils, the survivors will be speaking at a teacher training event for schools in the Wellington College Teaching School Partnership who will take free resources away with them to use in their Personal, Social, Health and Economic education lessons.
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. Over 10,000 young people across UK commemorated the 21st anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide this year through assemblies, lessons and the 8372 Srebrenica Memorial Football Tournament.
The charity also runs the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ educational visit programme in which people travel to Bosnia to learn from the genocide and people’s experiences. On return to the UK, delegates pledge to organise projects in their communities to strengthen community cohesion and create a better society.