Secondary schools across the UK are being encouraged to take part in a new challenge, inspired by the testimonies of Holocaust and genocide survivors, to empower pupils to make a difference in their own communities.

Launched by USC Shoah Foundation in partnership with Discovery Education, the Stronger Than Hate Challenge inspires pupils to take positive local action against prejudice and to capture their work in a short film. Introduced in the US and Canada in 2013, the high-profile challenge is being launched in the UK for the first time, along with new classroom resources to help teachers and pupils recognise and counter hate and discrimination.

Founded after the making of Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List, USC Shoah Foundation collects audio visual testimonies from survivors and witnesses of genocides around the world, preserving their stories for future generations. Students taking part in Stronger Than Hate Challenge will listen to these testimonies and be inspired to do something positive to effect change in their own communities, capturing their journey in a short video essay that shares their message with the world. Last year’s winning entry was a project to raise awareness of the struggles faced by immigrant families in Chicago, Illinois.

The Stronger Than Hate Challenge is part of a larger educational initiative, Teaching with Testimony, which is comprised of series of resources and videos that empower students to employ empathy, build critical-thinking skills, and become inspired to create a brighter future after listening to first-hand accounts from survivors and witnesses of genocide. Program resources are available at no cost at TeachingWithTestimony.com. Discovery Education has also collaborated with USC Shoah Foundation to produce special age-appropriate resources for younger children. These are available to primary schools through Discovery Education Espresso – an award-winning, cross curricular digital learning service for teachers and pupils supporting the delivery of the National Curriculum and the successful integration of digital media into teaching and learning.

Open to UK secondary school pupils age 13-18, the Stronger Than Hate Challenge runs from 14th January to 6th May 2019, with a total prize fund of up to £12,500, including school grants totalling over £6,500 and iPads.

Claudia Wiedeman, USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education said:

“Every year, USC Shoah Foundation continues to advance the mission of engaging students in themes around discrimination, genocide and identity to help young people build the necessary skills to counter hate. By expanding our partnership with Discovery Education and connecting students with real testimonies, we are able to inspire communities of leaders to act in positive and meaningful ways.”

Hazel Carter, Discovery Education UK’s Marketing Director said:

“We are proud to support USC Shoah Foundation, and to bring the Stronger Than Hate Challenge to UK schools for the very first time. We hope that it will enable students to explore challenging topics with their peers, using their voices to stand against all forms of discrimination and intolerance, while working for positive change in their own communities.”

As USC Shoah Foundation founder Steven Spielberg has said, “We show the power of random acts of kindness because the best way to teach empathy is by using the power of example.”

The Stronger Than Hate Challenge UK winners will be announced in June 2019. First prize is a £5,000 grant, awarded to the winning school to help teachers implement positive change. £1,000 and £500 grants will be similarly presented to the second and third place schools. iPads are also on offer for up to four pupils on each winning team.

Schools should visit teachingwithtestimony.com/challenge-uk to enter.

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital content and professional development services, visit discoveryeducation.co.uk.

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