On Saturday 12 March, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust welcomed nearly 50 young people to the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham for our Youth Champion Day.
Young people travelled from across the UK including Belfast, Edinburgh and Kent for a day of talks and activities. Lead Youth Champions Josh Whatsize and Wes Andrews thanked members of the 2016 Youth Champion programme whilst members of the Youth Champion Board presented the activities they organised for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016.
Megan Auld and Sohaib Hussain displayed a collage flame made up of embroidery and newspaper text honouring people such as Sir Nicholas Winton, who did not stand by to persecution. Other Youth Champions spoke about delivering school assemblies, organising survivor talks and creating pledge boards.
Maddy Crowther, from Waging Peace, led a session about the ongoing genocide in Darfur. She brought with her some powerful pictures drawn by Darfuri children in a refugee camp in Chad, depicting their experiences of the genocide.
Andy Fearn, Education Officer at HMDT, then spoke about the genocide in Rwanda, from his own experiences of living and working in the country.
Finally, Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of HMDT introduced the theme for HMD 2017: How can life go on? The theme asks audiences to think about what happens after genocide and of our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime. The Youth Champions discussed their ideas for the open-ended theme and the activities they could organise.
The day finished when the Youth Champions were joined for tea by survivors of the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda, where they had the opportunity to speak to the young people about their experiences. Ben Helfgott MBE, Honorary President of HMDT, handed out certificates to each of the attendees to recognise their attendance and their contributions towards HMD 2016.
Olivia Marks-Woldman said:
‘It was inspirational to see so many Youth Champions sharing their amazing activities for HMD 2016 and beginning to plan already for HMD 2017. It was very special to end with bringing survivors and Youth Champions together for informal discussion over tea; we know this was the highlight of the day for the Youth Champions and meant a great deal to survivors.'