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Reach Academy Feltham yesterday welcomed a survivor of the Srebrenica genocide to speak to pupils in Year 8 and 9.
The event was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the atrocity. Bosnian Muslim Hasan Hasanović walked 63 miles across gruelling terrain to escape death at the hands of Bosnian Serbs in July 1995. He spoke to students at Reach – giving pupils the opportunity to learn about the genocide at first hand.
Reach Academy student Samanvitha Bhiraju, aged 14, said:
“I was shocked when I heard Hasan’s story, because it’s really unfair to treat people differently just because their ethnicity. I’m so glad that Hasan came to talk to us. My class-mates and I are energised and thinking about what we can do to raise awareness about what happened at Srebrenica.”
Samanvitha had the opportunity to accompany Hasan to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and reflect on her experience with presenter John Humphreys.
Speaking in London, Hasan said:
“I’ve been delighted to be able to tell my story to such a receptive and engaged group of young people.
“As a genocide survivor, I’m asking everyone to bring their communities together with a memorial week event in July at their church, synagogue or mosque. This allows them to talk about the importance of tackling hatred.
“This is important in light of the violence happening across the world. I am a victim of hatred and I hope my story inspires people to join together and create stronger communities.”
Remembering Srebrenica and Hampton School organised the visit, as part of the school’s Genocide80Twenty project, and Reach Academy is very grateful to Hampton School for their continued support.