AWARD-WINNING LOCAL SCHOOL KIDS MAKE AN IMPACT WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR TESTIMONY
Last month marked the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and commemorative events took place across the country.
But despite this, an alarmingly low number of people know about the Holocaust. A national survey commissioned last year found 52% of adult respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust along with gay people, those with disabilities and people from other ethnic minorities.
So, how can we address this and make sure survivor testimony is not forgotten as we move further away in time from these atrocities?
Students in Birmingham have been doing their bit to address this knowledge gap through the Echo Eternal project run by the CORE Education Trust.
Featured on BBC’s The One Show, last year, the Trust’s project won Gold in the Impact through Partnership category in the Pearson National Teaching Awards.
CEO Adrian Packer said: “We knew that different winners were being announced on The One Show. It was all very exciting. The feeling of elation was massive. We got the news on the Thursday and our schools were filled with balloons and confetti on the Friday.”
The project, commissioned by the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, is a commemorative arts, media, and civic engagement project for primary and secondary schools. They put on events to help foster understanding and tolerance. Student ambassadors, called ‘Eternal Flames’ talk about how society can be a better place through learning lessons from the past.
Packer added: ““The survivors’ testimony is incredibly difficult to listen to. We wanted students to have a response. It’s important to us to bring different communities together to learn about the world and be inspired to become civic activists and make change happen.”
The project was initially developed for four schools in Birmingham, but it quickly gathered momentum across the region.
And now, thanks to the award win, word is spreading across the country and even aboard. Packer has plans to send survivor testimony and resources to every school in the country and has been in talks with an organisation in Europe to see how the project could translate into other European countries.
Packer talked animatedly about the passion of the students: “I’ve been astounded by the tenacity of the students, even during lockdowns, to get involved in initiatives.”
Is your school or trust doing important work beyond its own four walls? Find out more about how to nominate it for a Pearson National Teaching Award.
NOTES TO EDITORS
More information about the Pearson National Teaching Awards can be found here.
Find out more about the CORE Education Trust here.