On 14 June 2017, the 24-storey Grenfell Tower apartment block in North Kensington, west London, burned down. It claimed more than 70 lives, including Biruk Haftom and Mehdi El Wahabi, students at Oxford Gardens Primary School, located less than a kilometre away. The school was covered in ash and debris.
A year after the tragic event, teachers of the primary school explain in this documentary how challenging it's been for many of the children to come back to school, and have a full view of the tower – or what’s left of the place where they used to live and where neighbours and loved ones perished. It’s been “very tough” – oftentimes the teachers “felt like a counsellor, not just a teacher”, says teacher Narjis Trabelsi.
“I’ve had to drop particular sessions to talk about how [the kids are] feeling, how we should deal with our emotions. Some of the questions they had were truly horrific. ‘How could this happen?’, ‘Why has it happened?’, ‘How did some people get out and he didn’t?’”
Hamid El-Ouahabi, a senior learning mentor, continued, “We’ve had children say that they wish they were in the Tower rather than Mehdi. And when a child says that to you, what can you say?”
Watch the documentary above to see some of the coping mechanisms the school adopted to help the kids and teachers deal with the trauma.
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