Pupils mark Holocaust Memorial Day
Published: Tuesday 31st January 12
More than 150 school pupils took part in interactive assemblies to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Youngsters from four borough schools gathered to take part in story-telling sessions and dance performances on January 25, before reading out their own poems and presenting a book of their work to Wandsworth Council's events team, who organised two assemblies.
All of their poems were inspired by the day of remembrance, which took place last Friday and promoted the theme Speak Up, Speak Out - exploring the rights, responsibility and duty people have to speak up when confronted by injustice.
Pupils from St Mary's, in Battersea, joined in with an assembly at nearby Chesterton School while The Alton School, in Roehampton, welcomed youngsters from Sacred Heart, in Putney.
Following a screening of a short Speak Up, Speak Out film made by the Holocaust Memorial Trust, dancers Dinal Bloomfield and her daughters Sinoun and Chantria performed two classical Khmer dance routines.
Dinal was only seven years old when the Khmer Rouge took control of her home town in the 1970s. Her father was murdered and the rest of her family were forced to walk from one side of Cambodia to the other to escape the Khmer Rouge regime.
Ruth Hudson, headteacher at the Alton , said: "The children really enjoyed the event and they made some thought-provoking observations afterwards.
"We hadn't realized there would be a focus on Cambodia , so it was the starting point to discuss what a holocaust is and can we think of any others.
"As a school we discuss how to stand up to and stop bullying and other unkind or unsafe behaviour using positive assertion techniques.
"Therefore the children were able to use this as a way to access the 'Speak Up, Speak Out' theme to understand how they have the capacity to change the actions of a government or group that uses tyranny, hatred and discrimination to suppress people."
Ms Hudson also praised the Vayu Naidu Company's story-telling session for "engaging with the pupils rather than treating them as passive recipients".
To learn more about Holocaust Memorial Day 2012, visit www.hmd.org.uk
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