We are pleased to announce that Sana Hanif, from Year 11, has been named as the first ever Eternal Flame Fellow at a prestigious event this month. The award ceremony was organised by Echo Eternal, the commemorative arts engagement programme inspired by Holocaust survivor testimony. The special guest at the award ceremony was Natasha Kaplinsky, the news reader and long-time supporter of Echo Eternal.
The Echo Eternal team stated: “The fellowship is in recognition of Sana’s incredible contribution to Echo Eternal over the last two years. She has been an outstanding ambassador for the project and fully embraced the very many opportunities it has offered. Her exceptional contribution is something to be very proud of.”
Sana’s first became involved in the Echo Eternal project two years ago, when she was one of a group of students who listened to the testimony of Holocaust survivor Mady Gerrard and, reflecting on what could be learnt from Mady’s experiences.
Sana then actually met Mady, firstly in 2018 when Mady visited us in the West Midlands, then again in 2019 when Sana travelled to Mady’s house in South Wales. Despite the generation gap, Mady and Sana formed a special bond.
Here at school, Sana has played a big role in helping us commemorate the Holocaust and other genocides. She has led assembles, helped run our Holocaust survivor exhibition, and even spoken to film-makers as part of an ITV documentary filmed here at Rockwood.
During her acceptance speech, Sana said: “I am so pleased to accept the Eternal Flame Fellowship. It is a great honour and responsibility that I am grateful to take on. At the centre of what we do is the testimony of survivors. We learn from the individuals’ accounts of the Holocaust. We engage deeply in the personal accounts of hatred and violence that led to the loss of family, the loss of education and the loss of the norms of life itself. BUT in times of crisis and unimaginable horror and devastation, we also learn from these survivors that the human spirit is strong. They have faced immense danger and in many cases hunger and starvation, but they have survived. They have come to Britain, they have built families, they have had successful lives.”
She went on: “Our duty and responsibility to the survivors does not end there. It is not only to the survivors’ history, it is also to the future and to take their messages forward. As Eternal Flame Fellow this year, I call on you to act for the future, the here and the now. Today in over 100 countries, including the UK, Save the Children is helping children stay safe, healthy and learning. That they are helping is great news, but for us as the adults of the future, what is the significance of this fact? It is that in over 100 countries including the UK now, there are children who need to be helped to stay safe, healthy and learning.”
We look forward to other students at Rockwood being inspired by Sana to get involved with Echo Eternal and continue the project in the future.