Day of Memory with Karma Nirvana

Karma Nirvana is an award-winning British human rights charity, that champions the rights of those affected by honour based abuse and forced marriages. 

They offer a national helpline for those in need, and offer support for victims and victims' families. They also provide training for the Police, NHS, Social Services and other professionals. They also lobby government on important issues and after ten years of campaigning, the charity successfully helped forced marriage become a criminal offence in 2014. 

This year was their third annual Day of Memory, a day assigned to remembering those who have died of honour based abuse. This year the event was held at Leeds Civic Hall, and Mr Mitchell, Mrs Kaur and some of our students were invited to speak. 

Mr Mitchell opened the event with a talk about how he first heard about Karma Nirvana through Mrs Kaur and founder Jasvinder Sanghera CBE. 

Mrs Kaur has been working closely with Karma Nirvana, bringing their teaching and advice into the Academy. There is no legal requirement to teach students about this important issue, but we feel that it is something that is vital to the wellbeing and development of our students. 

Three of Mrs Kaur's students, Zina, Sabrina and Hasan read out victim statements and poems they had created in memory of some of those who lost their lives. 

Mrs Kaur also talked with host Bobby Friction about why it is so important to bring the work of Karma Nirvana into schools, "as educators, we have a responsibility to empower children with the knowledge and ability to make a difference; to their own lives and to the lives of others."

Other speakers at the day were survivors of honour based abuse, and family members of those who have sadly died. Including Matt, whose fiancee Naz committed suicide after being confronted about his sexuality by his family.

Another speaker was the the brother of Sobhia Khan, who was murdered by her husband in May, after he and his family lied about his identity after being put on the sex offenders register after assaulting his ex-wife. Their stories were both heartbreaking, but full of hope that change can happen and things can get better. 

We look forward to working closely with Karma Nirvana and becoming a beacon school for their work with young people in education. 

If you, or anyone you know is a victim of honour based abuse or forced marriage you can contact Karma Nirvana for confidential advice on their UK helpline 0800 5999 247. 

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