A group of young pupils age 10-11 from Devonshire Road Primary School have visited the European Parliament in Brussels at Sajjad’s invitation.
Sajjad first heard about the children’s work late last year. As part of a literacy project the youngsters were offered the opportunity of a trip to SeaWorld in America which at first they were very excited about. But after hearing more about how the whales are captured as babies and live the rest of their lives in enclosures, they shunned the visit.
They then went on to write poetry about the plight of the whales and produced a video which attracted the attention of the Born Free Foundation who promoted it on YouTube and their web site, attracting a great deal of interest.
During their visit pupils had a session with Sajjad to learn more about what Members of the European Parliament do, as well as how they do it.
The pupils presented Sajjad with a petition they had been working on especially for their visit to Brussels. The petition signed by over one thousand local people, backed the Resolution on the captive display of Cetaceans, currently being discussed by the European Parliament, calling for orca whales and dolphins be freed from captivity.
One student, Jasmin, 11, said: “Just because human beings have their own freedom, it does not mean that they can take it away from animals”
During their visit they took part in the launch event of Dolphinaria-Free Europe, a coalition of European animal welfare organisations and wildlife professionals.
Speaking on their visit Sajjad said: “I am very impressed by the time and effort put into the project by such a bright group of pupils. It shows that raising awareness on an issue can result in something getting done about it.
“I hope they understand that they can make a real difference to the things they care about most and one day I’d like to see some of them where I am now.”
Reflecting on the trip pupil Zena Robson, aged 11, said: “I felt like I really achieved something and made a difference.”
Blake Mara, aged 11, who also took part in the project, said: “I never thought that our work would take us all the way to Brussels, but I am glad it did.”
Simon Hunt, year six teacher thanked Sajjad for his support and inviting the pupils to Brussels saying “It still doesn’t seem real what the children have actually achieved.
“As their teacher I am so proud of them and how brave they were.
“It’s been great especially from a teachers point of view because it is hard to get children to have a passion for something but now that they have seen what can happen, I think they have realised what they can do if they put their minds to it.