A subsidy for selected schools visiting the Melbourne Holocaust Museum (MHM) in Melbourne, which will have great impact on thousands of students, has been enabled by a Local Anti-Racism Initiatives Grant, an initiative of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
Funding for our ‘Building Harmony’ program will enable 3,500 young students to participate in transformational Holocaust education programs at our museum, targeting those who may otherwise be excluded due to cost or geographical constraints.
CEO and Museum Director Jayne Josem noted, “Students who have never been able to meet Holocaust survivors and learn first-hand from them about this tragic period in history will be afforded this opportunity. We know it to be a transformative learning experience and we are heartened to know that we can reach students who have previously been out of reach. Just last month a mother wrote to us about the impact meeting a survivor had on her son. Our programs cut through all the noise and the students really pay attention to our messages.”
The mother of one of the students who came to the MHM wrote directly to the Holocaust survivor: “Your life story has a profound impact on [my son] for which I will be forever grateful…the resilience and courage you showed by sharing your memories and the events that marked your life has given [my son] insight into his own life choices and what path he now wants to take for his future.”
The Melbourne Holocaust Museum had identified that one of the barriers to schools visiting our museum is the cost of the excursion, including bus fees. Schools coming from regional areas in particular face large expenses. Additionally, there are schools in disadvantaged areas where the students themselves cannot afford the excursion cost.
The MHM is thrilled to roll out its program titled, ‘Building harmony: Teaching school students vital lessons about the impact of racism and discrimination through Holocaust education’ starting 1 July 2021.
We will use data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to target schools in disadvantaged and regional local government areas. Through this grant, we will offer a specific subsidised program to incentivise schools to visit. Our excursion fees are already low, but this grant will allow us to waive our standard fees to schools that meet the criteria. Additionally, it will subsidise some of the other costs such as bus fees and teacher relief expenses.
This grant will enable thousands more students to learn vital lessons about prejudice, discrimination, inequality, racism and democracy. Assisted by Holocaust survivors who make personal connections with the students, our educators and volunteers show students where hateful words can lead, and how important it is to stand up for others.
We are the leading Holocaust education and resource centre in Australia. Our programs are developed by our specialist educators and are age appropriate, underpinned by a ‘safely in safely out’ educational philosophy. We are a child-safe organisation, and all programs are linked to the Victorian school curriculum. Our education program was the recipient of the Victorian Multicultural Commission award for Education in 2015.
Image: Year 10 students from Parkdale Secondary College listening to Holocaust survivor Abram Goldberg. Photo by Rozanna Nazar, 2020.