THE HORROR of war, the dangers of extremism and a quest for long-lasting peace are the ongoing focuses for pupils from Solihull School after a challenging recent trip to Bosnia.
They travelled to the once-besieged Bosnian capital Sarajevo, where they visited the War Childhood Museum, the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum and the now-restored city hall and museum.
They then made a journey to Srebrenica, scene of the infamous 1995 massacre of thousands of mainly Muslim men and boys by Serbian troops during the Balkans War.
There they met survivor Fadila Efendic, whose husband Hamed and son Fejzo were murdered in the genocide, and listened to her harrowing story.
The pupils also visited the Srebrenica War Memorial Centre, the town’s cemetery and the former United Nations base nearby, which was attacked and over-run by the Serbian army.
The pupils who made the trip, Christina Bate, Tom Smith and Oliver Rooney, are preparing a presentation for the rest of the school to explain and highlight their visit.
Solihull School’s head of religious studies, Laura Rutherford, who led the school party with gap-year tutor and former pupil Megan Lloyd, said: “This was an intense and demanding trip for the students involved but ultimately they all agreed it was incredibly rewarding and challenging.
“Now they’re back they are busy preparing a presentation to deliver to the rest of the school in assembly to describe their visit and its impact upon them.
“They’re also working on a drama production based on their experiences and emotions from their time in Bosnia.”
The trip has already helped forge even closer links between Solihull School and the charity Remembering Srebrenica, a link which began last year when Sarajevo survivor Resad Trbonja visited the school to talk to pupils about the Balkans conflict.
Christina, Tom and Oliver met up again with Resad in Sarajevo and later renewed acquaintances with Hasan Hasanovic, curator at the Srebrenica War Memorial centre.
Earlier this year, Hasan was a VIP guest at Solihull School for the British Premiere of “Condemned to Remember”, a documentary film by Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental.
The screening, in partnership with Remembering Srebrenica, was part of the school’s ongoing commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust.
The school maintains strong links with the Holocaust Educational Trust, for whom Megan is an ambassador.
Two years ago, a sapling, taken from the tree Anne Frank could see from her hiding place in Amsterdam, was planted at Solihull School on Remembrance Day by Mindu Hornick, a survivor from Auschwitz.