“Within a generation, children will have forgotten about their grandparents’ suffering as far East Prisoners of War,” warns Paul Watson, chair of national charity COFEPOW (Children and Families of Far East Prisoners of War).
“As World War Two fades into history, young people are in danger of forgetting about the horrific suffering of many of their grandparents and great-grandparents as prisoners of war in the Far East,” he says.
Now, to mark the anniversary of 75 years since the Fall of Singapore in the Second World War, COFEPOW is launching an Education Programme to help ensure youngsters grow up knowing about the huge sacrifice many of their relatives made in the Far East.
Paul Watson says: “One of our functions at COFEPOW is to educate future generations so that our brave ancestors are never forgotten. As a result, we have created this exciting new initiative to help students understand what happened, whilst giving them the opportunity to experience different learning platforms to develop transferable skills for their future – skills such as confidence, teamwork, creativity, communication and working to deadlines.”
Working in teams, students will be tasked with preparing a television news report explaining that the war is over in the Far East and that all those held as prisoners will be released and sent home. In order to prepare their news report, students must find out as much as possible about the life of a Far East Prisoner of War.
Once complete, schools will need to send the filmed news reports on DVD to COFEPOW, who will judge all the entries and choose a winner. Students that take part will receive a Certificate of Achievement and the winning team will receive a special COFEPOW VJ Day 70th Anniversary Commemorative Medal for their school.
Paul Watson adds: “Members of COFEPOW are relatives of those who fought and were held captive in the Far East in World War Two. Whilst many of the prisoners are no longer with us, as relatives we saw first hand the lasting effects that the time in prison camps had on these men and women – both mentally and physically.
“We are all extremely proud of our loved ones for their war effort and we strive to ensure that what they went through will always be remembered and respected. By creating this competition, we feel we are helping the next generation to understand a little bit more about the Forgotten War.”
The programme was prepared in collaboration with Jayne Greene, who is experienced in producing education packages for schools and is a volunteer for COFEPOW.
The COFEPOW National Enterprise Competition for Primary Schools will run from 11th November 2017 (Remembrance Day) to 15th February 2018 (the anniversary of the Fall of Singapore).
If you are a teacher, school governor, or otherwise involved in delivering the national curriculum at primary school level, and would like to find out more about this new initiative, you are invited to attend the launch of the COFEPOW Education Programme at the National Memorial Arboretum on Wednesday 15th February 2017, commencing at 1pm.
To secure your place at the launch, please email COFEPOW Secretary Alan Wills at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about the project and for schools to enter please visit the COFEPOW website https://www.cofepow.org.uk/schools-competition.