In 2012 Haileybury Astana hosted a visit from two veterans of the Second World War. Akhat Bekmady and Minaidar Boranbayev came to tell the pupils about their experiences of war.
This year Mr Bekmady, now 90 years of age, kindly returned to Haileybury on Defenders Day. On arrival he toured the school speaking to the children. Even the very youngest came to shake his hand and say ‘thank you’ and when the year 7 pupils who met Mr Bekmady last year saw him in the corridor they lined up and burst into spontaneous applause.
After his tour Mr Bekmady sat down to talk to the pupils of year 6. It was an opportunity for them to learn directly about the hardships of the Second World War – a topic they have been studying this year. It was also a chance for them to practice their Kazakh. Year 6 then escorted Mr Bekmady to see the tree that he planted on his visit last year before joining him to pay their respects and lay flowers at the Otan Korgaushylar Monument.
Mr Bekmady thanked the teachers for all that they are doing to ensure that the young of today learn the lessons of the past. Pupils in Year 6 come from many countries that fought in the Second World War, today they study together and form strong international friendships for the future. Haileybury Astana is proud to remember those who fought in all conflicts particularly on Victory Day - 9 May and on the British and Commonwealth equivalent - 11 November - Remembrance Day. We look forward to the opportunity to host Mr Bekmady many times in the future.