Friday, 31 May 2013

Fundraising.

Hey, 

Yes, FYFT fans, we have got to that stage... The stage that you avoid as much as possible, as this stage really proves to be new charities' 'make or break'! Yes, we are talking about fundraising.

We have made such huge progress since we travelled to Eastern Europe little more than a year ago; our first unit of educational resources is almost complete and we are in talks to have them used throughout the country, but now our plans are becoming too ambitious for us to continue unfunded.

We are not sure if any of you have ever applied for funding, but completing one funding application form alone can take a very long time - although we are are, of course, aware of the need for such forms; we empathise with the poor trusts employees who must have to sift through them all!
It is also a difficult time to be setting up a charity and seeking funding, as we're sure you all know so well, times are hard and competition is rife.

We intend to delight you all with our own fundraising ventures and campaigns, which we will reveal to you shortly - warning; 90's pop music will be involved ;).

Please don't feel that this post is a direct appeal for donations - we just wanted to keep you all updated with our progress. However if you are able and willing to donate even as little as £2.50, then such funds would be incredibly, gratefully received. Please also feel free to spread the word of our blog and our overall message of tolerance - not forgetting our Facebook & Twitter pages! 



- It's true, we do! 


Thanks,
Ben

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Hannah.


Hello! I'm Hannah, 

I'm FYFT's resident intern and this is my first FYFT blog. I became involved with FYFT when they visited my school piloting their lesson plans. After taking part in their amazing resources, I was ridiculously keen to be a part of what FYFT were doing. I begged them to take me under their wing and here I am; hoping to help change the world, one blog at a time (I'm taking baby steps, okay?)

Before I had met FYFT I had taken part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lesson From Auschwitz programme (LFA). The project involves four steps - an orientation seminar (where you hear a testimony from a Holocaust survivor), a day trip to Poland (visiting Oświęcim, Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau), a follow up seminar (allowing you to reflect on your trip with other participants and plan the final step of the project) and your 'Next Steps' (you and your partner's plans to pass on what you've learnt from the project onto others). 

During the trip I realised that everyone had a different way of coping with the experience. My own experience was that I shared all my thoughts with a couple of people who I became really good friends with over the course of the project (Beth and Connor, if you're reading this - which you better be because I'll probably have been posting the link to it everywhere - then hi!) and I cried, quite a bit more than I thought I would. I didn't expect to be as affected by the experience as I was.

I never thought passing on what I had learnt would become such an important part of my life. It's difficult to convey just how powerful or emotional those experiences are through the medium of blogging. I learnt a lot about the Holocaust through my experience on the LFA Project, but the most important thing that I learnt is that there are too many of us who haven't learnt from the Holocaust - prejudice and discrimination are still huge problems in our society today, in the forms of religious discrimination, racism, sexism, homophobia (or discrimination against other sexual orientations or gender identities), ableism (regarding both physical and mental disability) discrimination for political beliefs. sound familiar? These were all practices of the Nazis during the Holocaust. These were the foundations on which mass persecution was built on. It has happened before, what is to stop it happening again? That's where the work of FYFT (and other organisations) comes in! It is through educating others about the effects of prejudice and discrimination and recognising that we still have a massive problem with them both that will allow us to ensure we do not repeat history. 

But like I said, baby steps - there are small measures we can all take in the fight against prejudice and bigotry, from challenging oppressive language in everyday situations to sharing interesting stories that highlight our society's problem with discrimination. I can't wait to work with FYFT and help make a positive difference to the world!

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

She's right, y'know.

Me!


Me with Ben, Janine and Grant of FYFT.


Having a chat with Janine and Grant at HET's drink reception at Scottish Parliament.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Reasons.

Hey,

After reading the wonderful dissertation of our future FYFT Ambassador, Abigail Jacobi, it got us thinking about the different reasons why we educate about the Holocaust. 'Different reasons why...?' We hear you cry; 'Well, isn't it obvious?'

Surprisingly not. Many organisations and educators teach about the Holocaust with a variety of goals or aims. We'll discuss these momentarily, as well as some complications that arise from certain types of Holocaust education, but first of all let us declare FYFT's position...


FYFT believes two things regarding (general) Holocaust education;
No. 1.  The Holocaust is a complex, heart wrenching subject in itself and deserves to be taught respectfully as such - not just as a spring board to other topics.

No. 2. One of the most crucial reasons to educate people about the Holocaust is in order to allow each individual to allow the lessons of the Holocaust  (i.e. the power of prejudice, the power of action/inaction and the importance of tolerance) to resonate personally within them. The Holocaust is an incredible example to teach with in order to show directly what happens when prejudice goes unchecked. Additionally, the stories of those who acted positively within a culture of horrifically cruel proportions are hugely inspirational, and a driving force to influence people of our time to act personally to prevent such a culture from being perpetuated again.

However, not everyone agrees with us on this subject (which we totally understand, especially as it makes for interesting discussions!) - some organisations believe that because of the Holocaust's enormity and complexity, it is not up to educators to tell people what the lessons are that they must learn from it. They believe that the job of a Holocaust educator is to educate solely about the history of the Holocaust; the events and the impact and allow people to decide about what lessons they can learn from it. 


While this is obviously true (in the sense that there are almost unlimited lessons one can learn from the Holocaust), our belief is that the above approach can be overwhelming. To give a mass of often upsetting information without providing direction could 'scare' people from the subject. We believe that it is helpful to try and properly process the Holocaust with a certain structure and specific lesson in mind. FYFT's approach towards teaching about the Holocaust, is in our concentration on the emotions of the period; drawing from stories and testimonies of eye-witnesses. We believe it should be taught (to the general public, not specialist scholars) with a focus on learning the costs of prejudice - something we feel is a crucial element in ensuring such atrocities are not repeated.

Another approach to Holocaust education is to teach it solely in a Jewish context; i.e. to link it with Judaism and talk only of the 'Jewishness' of the victims. It is true that the Holocaust is defined as the persecution of Jewish people during WW2, but it is vitally important to remember and in the process, respect the other groups of people persecuted by the Nazis. Gay, disabled, Roma Sinti and other minorities and ethnic groups were all victimised. It is also important to state that, for many, the Holocaust has completely altered both past and current Jewish life. For many Jewish people the Holocaust is 'in their blood', so to speak, and they cannot remember a time when they have not been aware of it and its relevance. However, from FYFT's perspective this 'angle' is more suitable for exploration within the studies of specialist students of the Holocaust. We feel that by solely focusing on the link between Judaism & the Holocaust, it can force the implication that it 'belongs' to Jewish people, subsequently harming the connection of the wider community with the Holocaust, and in turn hindering non-Jewish people learning the wider lessons from it. Our view is that it is vitally important to humanise the victims of the Holocaust, stating first and fore-mostly they were people, regardless of their religion. Of course, you cannot teach the Holocaust without discussing Judaism and Jewish life - both for context and out of respect to the persecuted who faced alarming anti-Semitism, but in our opinion to present it as a solely Jewish topic is not the way forward. 

FYFT obviously believe that it is vital to teach about the Holocaust, and we respect any organisation doing so, however, it's important to clarify our position and enlighten others as to the thinking behind our resources. What do YOU think?


Thanks,
Ben