1223. Lejla Damon
Lejla Damon, aged 26, from Manchester, is a youth engagement panel member for ‘War Child’, an advocate for ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ and a campaigner against sexual violence in conflict, having been born as a child of rape in Bosnia in 1992.
Lejla left Bosnia as a baby when she was adopted by two British journalists who had followed her birth mother’s tragic story of being held in a concentration camp and raped until she became pregnant. Lejla now works with ‘War Child’ and regularly speaks at their global conference on ending sexual violence in conflict. Her story has been featured in many news outlets and she uses this to raise awareness around the atrocities of war. Lejla also works with ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ to organise the annual memorial event to commemorate the Srebrenica massacre, which started on this day in 1995.
In a personal letter to Lejla, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“By bravely sharing your family story, you are showing the human impact of sexual violence in conflict and making sure that atrocities around the world are not forgotten. As we mark the anniversary of Srebrenica, we must redouble our efforts to end sexual violence as a weapon of war and I thank you for speaking out about this devastating issue.”
“I am very pleased to accept this Point of Light award, and as I do so I honour my birth mother Safa who went through humiliation and cruelty as a victim of the deliberate campaign of sexual violence intended to destroy Bosnia’s traditional diversity. After years of searching, with help from the Bosnian government and my adoptive parents, I found Safa two years ago and I have spent some loving hours with her. Her survival and her bravery continue to inspire me in my campaigning against all forms of sexual violence in conflict.”
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