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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Education For All Conference 2013

'Education for All (EFA) day' was a day spent educating hundreds of thousands of children all across the UK about the barriers that so many face in trying to get what is simply their right, their education. It was a great success and in our EFA a man from Oxfam came and spoke to our students in more detail as to the problems concerning education in countries like Uganda.

Due to the success of EFA day, the organisers decided that the most proactive schools should be invited up to London, and to the National Union of Teachers' (NUT) headquarters, to be involved with sharing ideas for future EFA days. As we are the young ambassadors, we were invited to speak about everything we had done since undertaking our role, however our jobs would have been a lot harder if we had not had the support of our Global Campaigners, https://twitter.com/GCampaigners .  Therefore we decided to invite Jade Wardle and Iona Spencer-Dingle to speak about all of their own achievements, including their visit to parliament on Malala Day.  We first started with our life changing, fact finding mission to Delhi where we gained bounds of knowledge as to the barriers that children face in India whilst they try to fight for what they know they are allowed. We then moved through all we have done since India, from our speech at the NUT, to our own EFA day and right up until our latest engagement, a meeting with Lynne Featherstone MP (the Undersecretary of State for the Department For International Development).

After our presentation, and the presentation of another school who have made a partnership with a school in Nepal, we began the organised break out sessions. Three of the six schools went to their stalls, which had information about all their campaigning ideas and success, and prepared to present to the three other schools who were allowed to walk around from stall to stall gaining information for the development of their campaigns. Then, after thirty minutes, it all switched around with the schools who were browsing returning to their tables and the other schools becoming the browsers. From these sessions we gained invaluable information for us to develop our campaign and we're sure that you will be seeing us use it ion the future.

The day was, as already said, a great success and a time that we will not forget as we met and made friends wit so many inspirational people, like last years Young Ambassadors who are still going strong and campaigning for the goal shared by so many, Education for ALL!

We'd like to thank Jade and Iona for coming with us, the Steve Sinnott Foundation for organising the day, the other schools who attended for giving us so many ideas and of course Mrs Hickman for her continued support and organisation to make all our visits off site possible.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Meeting with Lynne Featherstone Undersecretary of State at the Department for International Development

‘We were thrilled to be invited to speak with Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for International Development along with other students from across the UK. We all wanted to ask the minister what the UK government is doing to make sure every child worldwide gets the chance to go to school.

The four of us from Ringwood School travelled on the train to London and kept busy during the long journey by making plans for the meeting.  We were joined by two of the global campaigners Katy Barrett and Samantha Kimberley. We were all travelling to London to represent half a million young people in the UK deeply concerned about the 57 million children worldwide who are missing out on education.

We were invited to Oxfam HQ for the morning, with the meeting with Lynne Featherstone scheduled for the afternoon. The primary objective at Oxfam was to prepare a collage representing all the campaigning by Ringwood School and the other four schools. The collage was then to be presented to Lynne Featherstone. We found the thought of the collage daunting:  how could we summarise all this campaigning in one small collage? ‘Just do the highlights’ said Oxfam’s John McLaverty. Easier said than done!  Although we had an obvious edge with this wealth of material we were careful to let the other schools to show what they had done in their own brilliant campaigns.  We really enjoyed hearing about other schools’ campaigns; everyone got on really well and we decided that making the collage was fun.  There was room for everything and, as the photo shows, the final piece looked great!

Next came the high point of the day; our private meeting with the Minister. We went by cab to the Department for International Development, DFID, in Whitehall and were given smart identity badges. Sam quickly introduced everyone and our photos were taken with the minister together with the collage we’d made earlier. The meeting with Ms Featherstone followed and we enjoyed  posing questions such as, “How can we ensure that children who are disabled get the education they need?” and, after seeing how poor some teaching had been in Delhi, “How can we make sure that teaching is of good quality?”  The meeting was chaired by Sam.  He had the challenging task of keeping the meeting to time, and learning everyone’s name in order to call them up to question the minister at the appropriate time.

Ms Featherstone warmed to our questions and answered them as honestly as she could. We learnt a great deal about what the government is doing to try to get all children into education by 2015. She admitted that this goal would not be met!  At the end of the meeting we formally presented Lynne Featherstone with their collage and discussed each school’s efforts to help the Send My Friend to School campaign.  We knew Ms Featherstone had been involved in the campaign in her constituency so were slightly surprised to learn that at this point she seemed completely unaware that we had been to India on a visit to the slums!
Ms Featherstone said,”It was fantastic to meet such passionate children who care so much about the world they are growing up in and helping to shape. I was impressed by their understanding of the importance of education and their commitment to help less fortunate children across the world receive the education they deserve. Education acts as a ladder out of poverty and helps young people reach their full potential. Making sure children in developing countries get a good education is a priority for DFID and we are working with other countries to make sure that education is an important part of the new set of development goals to be agreed in 2015.” 

We left Whitehall with Zahra and Aaron from Kingsbury High and much enjoyed their company.  After photos under Big Ben, we swapped Facebook and Twitter details and went our separate ways. What a fantastic day. Thank you Oxfam and GCE UK for giving us this great opportunity”

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Wanted: young campaigners to go on a fact-finding trip to Uganda!

Wanted: young campaigners to go on a fact-finding trip to Uganda!

A national competition to find the Young Global Education Ambassadors for 2014 is now open to schoolchildren in the UK. The winners will have the opportunity to visit Uganda in early 2014 with the charity Sightsavers and the Global Campaign for Education. 

They are looking for two bright, articulate and passionate and 14/15 year olds (Year 10 pupils) to apply through their school for the Steve Sinnott Award. 

This competition will give the winners, and their teacher, an amazing trip to Uganda to investigate the barriers to education, particularly for children with disabilities. This competition is open to all secondary schools and applications where one or both of the candidates has a special educational need or disability are encouraged.

Find out more: http://www.sendmyfriend.org/young-ambassadors/


Millie says: 'This year has been the best year of my life. I loved every minute of it but especially seeing first-hand the education challenges in India and participating in Malala Day. It is demanding and very hard work but such an important campaign deserves such commitment. I urge you to apply, GoodLuck!'

Child Refugees of Syria

Over the last two weeks we have been running assemblies and tutor time activities to raise awareness of the thousands of children how have become refugees as a result of the conflict. There is hardly a day that goes by that the Syrian conflict doesn't reach headline news across the world. It is so important that we do not forget about the thousands of children who have been affected and as a result are missing out on their education.

We delivered with the help of our global campaigns team assemblies to most year groups telling them of the children who are all too often forgotten about! 

We told a story of Israa, a 13-year-old from Syria. Israa and her family were forced to flee Syria after civil war broke out in March 2011 and it became too dangerous for them to stay. The photo shows her in her old home.  They now live in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan.
She says,
Before the war started we spent our time playing outside the house but after it started we had to stay in all the time. We missed a lot of school —sometimes we only went once per week.”
“Bombs fell next to my house. We heard they were raiding our village,  and that if they found people hiding they would kill them. The electricity was cut off; we only had 15-30 minutes every three days.”
“We couldn't bring anything with us to the refugee camp. We brought nothing but one change of clothes and one pair of shoes each. We left everything else behind and my mum’s told me that now everything’s gone - it’s been destroyed.”
“If we return to Syria, we will live in a tent while we rebuild our house. We lost our house but we have our lives.” 

Since 2011, 1.9 million Syrian children in years 1-9 have lost their schooling with 3,000 schools damaged or destroyed. Over 1 million children are now refugees of Syria.  Over 3 million children are still living in Syria in dire situations. These are only a few of the shocking statistics!
All students watched a short film:

This talks about the ‘Education without boarder’ plan to give 300,000 child refugees of Syria education in the countries they have fled to.


Students really engaged within the activities. In tutor groups they were ask to think about the rights of children in Syria and whether they are being met or not.

I feel the activities and assemblies have once again reminded everyone in the school of how lucky we are to live in England and the importance of providing support and education to all children regardless of their situation.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Poulner Junior School

At the end of last school year we ran an ‘Education For All Day’ style morning for Poulner junior school. First we talked to them about the campaign and the desperate need that so many children have for education globally before asking them to complete their own teacher puppets to add to the growing collection we have made. As with all of the people we have run the activity with the characteristics of their ideal teacher included funny, enthusiastic, kind and so on but they also managed to think a little bit deeper and added traits such as qualified and understanding.

Whilst we, with the global campaigners, were running the morning’s events and activities John McLaverty, Nicola Cadbury and a camera man were also visiting and filming the day unfold and all the children getting involved with making their teachers.

After the Poulner children had gone back to their school with their puppets to send to their local MP with them, Nicola and John interviewed different members of the global campaigns group to ask them how they had been involved with campaigning events like Education For All day which was held on 21st June 2013. They also wanted to find out why the campaigners felt passionate about education as well as what they had learnt on their short time as advocates for the Global Campaign for Education.

Then we were whisked away to film part of the thank you film to all you campaigners who have made a difference to millions of children across our world. Here is the link…http://www.sendmyfriend.org/resource/send-my-friend-2013-campaign-report/


Anyway, after our nice time in the holidays we must all knuckle down and get back to campaigning as there is still the remaining 57 MILLION children who are deprived of the right to an education.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Petition for Nigeria's children

Today, 10.5 million children in Nigeria will not go to school.  In fact, Nigeria has the highest out-of-school population in the world.  And increasing levels of violence has been targeted at children for wanting to go to school and learn. 
Please sign our petition below showing our support for President Jonathan's commitment to education, and urging immediate action so that all children and youth have the opportunity to learn and thrive in society.

Join me in uniting for education once again. Sign this letter to President Jonathan pledging your support to the cause -- it takes just one click.

Dear President Jonathan,
Within the last few weeks, school children and teachers have been gunned down and others firebombed and burned to death - simply for wanting to go to school.
We stand united with UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, and teenage education campaigner, Malala Yousafzai, in supporting the your call for safe schools for the 10.5 million out-of-school children in the country.
With the highest out-of-school population in the world, we ask the government, with the support of the international community, to deliver education so these children can go to school. We ask that conditional cash transfer programs be implemented at the state level for families so that 900,000 girls can enrol into school now. We also request that the state governors and their ministers draw up plans for universal education, and leading up to the next budget cycle, the national government develop financial incentives for state level results to ensure every child goes to school by 2015.
Every Nigerian child deserves the chance to go to school and learn.

Act Now.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Friday 12th July – MALALA DAY

The big day is here, Malala Day! Here we are, pictured outside the UN building in New York!
 
 
 
We found our space in the queue and waited in anticipation for Malala’s first speech since her barbaric attack on 9th October 2012. We passed through security and made our way to the Trusteeship Council Chamber where the event would be taking place.
We took our seats with Annika Erickson Pearson a young campaigner from the Global Campaign for Education US who we had met the previous night, and has the shared goal, as with everyone in the chamber, to get universal primary education by 2015.
The room was buzzing! Then, as the room fell silent, dignitaries from the UN entered with the star of the day amongst them, Malala appeared! Everyone leapt to their feet and started cheering and applauding the ‘bravest girl in the world’.
She protested against the Taliban government by attending school and campaigning for girls’ education even though they forbid it. So they shot her! As Malala said herself, ‘They thought that they had silenced me, but they failed. Out of the silence came thousands of voices.’
It started by an opening speech by Vuk Jeremic who, to inform world leaders of the importance of education, quoted Nelson Mandela saying ‘Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world’.
Then Ban-Ki-Moon followed and reiterated the importance of education and the significance of young people taking over the UN.
Next Gordon Brown, the UN special envoy for global education, gave a powerful introduction to Malala Yousafzai on this, the occasion of her 16th birthday. ‘You can last 30 days without food, you can last 8 days without water, you can last 8 minutes without air, but you can’t last a second without hope’.
There was an explosion of sound to welcome Malala to the microphone. ‘Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every girl and every boy who have raised their voice for their rights’. Malala’s speech was truly inspirational and was one of the most moving speeches we have ever heard. She said: ‘We realised the value of books and pens when we saw guns.’



We feel it is impossible to convey the emotion that charged the room.
Here is the link to both the transcript and video footage of her speech. Let this inspire you:
https://secure.aworldatschool.org/page/content/the-text-of-malala-yousafzais-speech-at-the-united-nations
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5X70VyjU0g
This memorable speech brought all 500 young people to their feet in long and spontaneous applause. Malala has given hope to so many, we are sure that this will be a historic turning point to finally reaching the shared goal of education for ALL.
Next we had a stall in the Youth Fair so that we had our opportunity to explain the Send My Friend to School campaign to all of the other participants at Malala Day. We met some truly interesting people, including teachers from around the world who wanted an activity to do with their students. So we gave them our ‘ideal teacher’ puppet exercise along with our contact details so that they could send us their suggestions as well as pictures and make our campaign international.
Whilst at the Youth Fair many TV channels and other organisations wanted interviews with us like ‘The Voice of America’ and Gordon Brown’s office. They all wanted to hear what we thought of Malala’s speech and what it would inspire us to move forward and do. Obviously we said that her speech was one of the most moving and memorable moments in our lives and that we would continue to advocate the message of the global campaign for education through any means possible.
Then there was sudden excitement… ‘a special guest is coming, a special guest is coming’! Mr Gordon Brown MP arrived in the room and was escorted across to an awaiting TV camera for an interview about the day. Then as he was making his move away Sam ran up to him and asked him to take part in our exercise to create an ideal teacher puppet, to which he obliged. He wrote ‘My ideal teacher was the one I had when I was young’.



Later there were breakout sessions to do with skills building where they wanted one of us to speak about the advocacy that we had been doing in our campaign. Millie spoke as part of a panel, which consisted of 6 young campaigners. There was time for a Q&A at the end, an interesting one was ‘what would you suggest to engage friend and family that don’t understand the campaign?’ The ideas that came out of the break-out session we felt were really useful and gave us other ideas to campaign in our own countries.



We hope this event is the first of many, so the young generation have a chance to influence world leaders and continue to bring international media attention to this issue. The day highlighted how much young people have to offer with such energy and dynamic ideas to help get all children into education. We realised how much potential power and influence we can have if we work together.
The closing ceremony ended with sharing stories of similar events to Malala Day which were happening in a number of other countries, including London.
Angelique Kidjo perfomed and everyone danced and sang along, it was a great way to reflect and enjoy the last event of the day.
Gordon Brown then ended with a really powerful story about a boy called David.
“Written on the gravestone of a young boy in Rwanda is:
Name: David
Age: 12
Hobby: making people smile
Favorite Sport: Football
Last Words to Mother: The UN are coming and will help us.
However the UN did not come and so had failed him. All young people must keep reminding world leaders that they cannot fail another child ever again.”

We are still on such a high from Malala Day!

 

Thursday 11th July: New York

The first appointment we had on our first full day in ‘The Big Apple’ was with the Deputy UK Ambassador to the UN, Philip Parham. We had three main talking points from the youth outcomes document that we wanted to address including girls, children with disabilities and the global lack of trained teachers.



We discussed the 1.7 million professional teachers needed with him. He said that, like us, he feels that a proportion of the UK’s international aid should be targeted at training more teachers so that the quality of education and learning can rise.
Next, we wanted to talk to him about the amount of girls who miss out on an education. We told him of what we had seen in India; sometimes girls miss out because of their culture or due to them being pulled out of school as they are being sexually teased or harassed. Again he was supportive of our cause and explained that the UK government is trying to support 1 million more of the poorest girls in school through the Girls’ Education Challenge. This is an initiative that calls upon national government organisations (NGOs), charities and the private sector to find better ways of ensuring girls receive a quality of education and transform their future.
He was keen to say how important the British government was in working towards progress on education. This week, the UK government has reached their commitment of 0.7% of GNI on international aid. This, he thinks has given the UK soft power within the UN to take leadership in achieving the promises made at the Millennium.
Finally we expressed our concern about the education of children with disabilities. We felt very strongly about this issue as we had met the inspiring young campaigners from Leonard Cheshire Disability the previous night. We communicated the stories of Markson and Andira who did not only face access to education as a barrier but also the quality of education they had once they received one. Mr Parham explained that this was also an issue close to his heart as one of his children has a disability. He also said, we need to disaggregate the figures to make sure that more children are accessing education across all groups of society as an education for all really should mean an education for ALL.
Next was our Youth Orientation session that had the purpose of firing everybody up ready for Malala Day tomorrow. It was great to finally get into the UN building and while lining up to pass through security it was really nice to talk to other campaigners from all around the world!! Once in the orientation session the atmosphere was great with everyone chanting. Chernor Bah, the Chair of the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) led the session and got everyone in the mood by calling out , “I say Malala, you say Day’ then everyone would chant ‘Malala’ ‘Day’, ‘Malala’ ‘Day!’ We split into small groups and had discussions about what inspired us to come to Malala Day and campaign for education for all.
Next we discussed and put forward ideas of how to sum up the need for education in one line. Lastly we came up with commitments for education, which the best would be said in the main Malala Day event tomorrow. The session ended with a hot seat between 2 influential people where questions could be fired at them. This orientation session was fantastic to meet and have discussions with other young people, cant wait for Malala Day tomorrow.
We were privileged to meet Zarmina Rasouli, a young Afghan woman who joined us in our hotel and talked to us about being a girl in Afghanistan. As we expected, it had been very difficult. The five years of Taliban rule saw the erosion of many rights of women (and men) n the country. Women were often confined to their homes and girls were out of school and many of her friends had been forced to marry young.



We learnt that while many of her friends’ parents left the country for Pakistan, her parents remained in Afghanistan. This was the first time she mentioned her parents. They were critical in her life story. As she couldn’t leave her home, this meant she couldn’t continue her education.
Despite these risks, Zarmina took the risk and mustered up the courage to return to school in 2005 to complete her 12th standard education. Even when studying, she wanted to do more and she joined a local group ARU (a partner of Action Aid) as a social organiser during her summer holidays. She also joined Action Aid in mid 2005 as a volunteer.
We heard she is now doing a degree in Business accounting while working as a Provincial Manager for ActionAid covering in 288 villages. She works in the most marginalised communities where there are specific problems relating to women and children. Her example has motivated many girls to come out of homes and go back into education, and as a result of Action Aid’s programme, more than 300 girls have completed 12th standard.
When asked why she withstood the pressure from the Taliban, she credited her parents. Zarmina’s Dad, when asked whether he wanted Zarmina to marry, he replied, “No, you will have to kill me first.” She also spoke about the importance of Action Aid’s work that was different in towns and rural areas, and about network groups and practical actions that help get children into school.
We found her story of perseverance very moving and very much hope we will be able to meet up again tomorrow, on Malala Day.

Wednesday 10th July: New York

 

We have arrived in New York after a long journey from London! As soon as we got out of the airport the humidity hit us, quite a difference from the weather in England. We enjoyed our journey to the hotel in the famous yellow taxi which also gave us a great chance to see New York from a distance.
Once at our hotel we went for a small walk to get our bearings. Then we went to the UNICEF ‘picnic’ to meet and get to know some of the other young ambassadors that would also be attending ‘Malala Day’. It was really interesting hearing about the organisations and the campaigning they do in their countries.



Millie talked to Andira, a young campaigner from Indonesia who is visually impaired and has other disabilities, and it was a fascinating and inspiring to hear her story. She talked about the struggle that she had in getting into school and of other children.
Andira was lucky enough to get an education, but by no means was it easy. She explained to Millie that the only way she eventually got into school was because of a personal approach to the teacher; Andira would go and beg the teacher to allow her to be included in class and be accepted for who she was. Even once in school the teachers weren’t trained properly to support her, and she had to provide any specialist materials with her own money.



Sam talked to Markson, 19, another disabled young campaigner from Kenya. His concern about getting children with disabilities into education was not just simply access to education but rather the treatment they received once he was in school. He personally found that people were ‘over helpful’ as they felt that help was needed when in reality he could manage to do the task himself.
Also he felt that the teachers did not have sufficient training to help support those in need as only a select few teachers are trained suitably. Therefore the children can only be taught by them and so not get the full opportunities that others throughout his school got.
We also had a conversation with Abigail from Zambia. She talked about how she had to plead everyday to try and get into school which didn’t work. So eventually she got sponsored to go to school by CAMFED. She went on to complete her education and feels so fortunate to have had the chance to go to school. She now works with CAMFED to help other children who were in a similar situation to her. Abigail’s story was truly inspiring for us both, against the odds she got her education.
We’re now getting loads of Tweets from our Global Campaigners group at Ringwood who are off to Westminster on Friday for Malala Day and are very excited. The atmosphere in New York is building too as we are meeting more and more young people who have gathered here from all over the world all united in the fight for education.

Tuesday 9th July: Westminster event

We were invited to an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Global Education. Once we arrived in Parliament we made our way to the Jubilee Room to meet Mark Williams MP who was chairing the APPG discussion. We briefly met him and some old faces from our fact finding mission to Delhi earlier this year, like Samidha Garg from NUT and Sarah Dransfield from Oxfam.
We took our seats at the front of the room so that Mark Williams could open the event before we stood up to make our presentation to the many MPs and civil society in the room.
We talked about what we had seen in Delhi and what we had done during our time as Young Ambassadors. We also tried to communicate our passion that we feel strongly that world leaders need to complete their pledge that ALL children are in education, but also to start thinking about the quality of education that children receive.
After our speech two more guest speakers from different organisations, VSO and UNESCO talked about what their groups do as well as the problems that they feel exist with global education.
There was then a chance to mingle, talk about their individual opinions and exchange contact details with very interesting people. We met Mahesh Chandrasekar from Leonard Cheshire Disability, who we talked to about the problems children with disabilities face in getting into education.
We learnt that it is not just access that children face as a barrier but rather the fact that teachers are not properly trained to support those who need it.
Next, we met Desmond Swayne our local MP, to present him with our schools ‘ideal teacher’ puppets and letters detailing what our students think makes an ideal teacher as well as how passionate they feel about education. These letters also explain what they feel should be done to keep pushing to the end goal ‘primary education for all’.
Mr Swayne seemed quietly inspired and pleased that we were pursing a goal that we both felt so passionate for and he said that he would pass all of our messages onto the Prime Minister David Cameron.
It was a really motivating day to spur us onto our next mission, the youth-takeover of the United Nations for Malala Day.
 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Monday 8th July

Here's a picture of us and the Global Campaigners group with John from Oxfam on our Education For All Day

Remember to keep following us on twitter:
Millie and Sam = @milliesamYA
Our Global Campaigners group = @GCampaigners

 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

'Send My Friend' at Minstead Study Centre

On the 27th June we went to visited Minstead Study Centre to provide various sessions for Burley School children who were on a residential there. One of the sessions was 'Send my Friend' in which the children made teacher puppets. We also shared our experiences of the trip to India with them. The children were from years 5 and 6 and when they return back to school they are hoping to do a send my friend assembly. Therefore passing the message onto other students in their school, we also hope that these students will write to world leaders explaining the importance of getting all children into education.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

'Education for All Day' finally arrived!!

On Friday 21st we held our ‘Education for All Day’ at Ringwood School. It started off with an assembly talk from guest speaker John Mclaverty who is Oxfam’s Campaigns Team Leader & Education & Youth Coordinator - London & SE. The assembly introduced over 250 year 9 pupils to what the campaigns about and in particular the barriers to education in both Malawi and Sierra Leone.

 ‘Education for All day’ is about raising awareness and understanding of the need for quality education around the world and encouraging young people to participate. After the assembly all year 9 student went into tutor groups and started the morning activities which were run by the Ringwood school campaign group (follow on twitter @GCampaigners)

Firstly the students completed the Send My Friend to School puppet making activity to show in their view what makes an ideal teacher. In addition they drew what an ideal school would look like. In total we had 50 ideal teacher puppets and 50 ideal schools ready to send to our local MP Desmond Swayne. Pupils then compared the puppets they had created with the ones completed by the New Delhi students.

Next we did an hour session on the significance of water, students learnt about water vulnerability which affects many people around the world. Students watched Oxfam's WASH programme video and then completed a water audit to make students aware of the vast amount of water they use compared to people in developing countries. We also did a number of other Water Week activities created by Oxfam.

After a number of other interesting activities to finish the students wrote letters to important political figures which included David Cameron, Barack Obama, Justine Greening, Gordon and Sarah Brown and our local MP – Desmond Swayne. These letters included the student’s view on what needs to be done to get the remaining 60 million children into education and the activities they had taken part in during ‘Education for All Day’!

Please follow us on twitter @milliesamYA


Saturday, 15 June 2013

BIG NEWS!!!

On Thursday of least week we were called to our heads office at the end of the day so we sat down in her office and she told us that we have the opportunity to go to NEW YORK in 4 weeks time!

This would give us the opportunity to be involved with the Youth Takeover of the UN where we get, with a group of other young people, get our voices heard by the world's leaders to make a real difference in the world.We will discuss all of the Millennium Development Goals with our focus being on the 2nd MDG - Education. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we will remember for the rest of our lives and we would like to thank Karen Garvin of GCE UKfor giving us this awesome chance to make a difference.

We will update you as we know more and keep looking at twitter page - https://twitter.com/milliesamYA , the twitter page of our new campaigns group - https://twitter.com/GCampaigners and keep using the hash tag #educationforall

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Plans for 'Education For All Day' at Ringwood School

Ringwood School has set up its own campaign group to focus on ‘Send My Friend to School’ in our area. At the meeting today we discussed what activities Ringwood School would be doing on the national 'Education For All Day', 21st June 2013, which is run by the Steve Sinnott Foundation, to find more  about the day go to:

Our day will be about the 'Global Campaign For Education' but we will also support OXFAM’s water week activities because we learnt that lack of clean drinking water underpins so many problems in India. For more go to:


 The day will primarily involve Ringwood school year 9 students but also various primary school pupils who will be invited in the afternoon to launch ‘Send My Friend to School’ in their school. 


Friday, 10 May 2013

Thank you letter from JOSH


On our visit to the JOSH project in India we donated some money from our school. They brought 'carom boards' a game enjoyed mainly by girls in India. They sent a lovely thank you letter back to us. Below is a copy of the letter along with some great pictures:

'As discussed, we have bought 3 caroms boards in the Youth Resource Centre and Minority Resource Centre run by Josh. We are enjoying a lot by playing it. More than that it has become a source of enjoyment for the volunteers. Due to caroms the centre is forming a carom club for playing it in a fanatic way. 




The experiences of the centre are really incredible.The students of youth resource centre just got a new tool of fun and enjoyment through which they are having more closeness with the centre and new students in the centre.


 Chandni –A volunteer of JOSH has her own experience and shares that she hasn’t played the carom in her life before this .She enjoys a lot and is very thankful to Ringwood School.
 The girls studying in the Minority Resource Centre share their experience that when they eventually get bored in their spare time they couldn’t find a way of enjoying themselves. But now they are able to explore their enjoyment and happiness through carom playing.
 Kekhasa – A girl of Minority Resource Centre says she often see boys playing cricket and badminton in the streets. Her parents allow her brother to play the games but not to her due to which she often feel depressed. She tells that due to carom she gets time to play and also have a chat with the other girls.  She is happy and enjoys a lot.'


 We are so glad that the carom boards have made a difference to those who attend the JOSH project. We hope that they continue to have fun with them.


Saturday, 4 May 2013

Planning a summer campaign

Planning a summer campaign

We want to follow up our Delhi visit beyond our own school, and we're really keen to get the message about children out of education, especially girls, heard loud and clear. We spent Thursday afternoon planning with our teachers and with John from Oxfam, and we're now building up a campaign team at Ringwood. We were really pleased to see our article in SEC-ED

Making a start at Ringwood

 

It's good to have shared our Delhi experience in assemblies at Ringwood over the past two weeks.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The National NUT Conference on Easter Saturday


NUT- On Saturday 30th we spoke in front of teachers at the NUT conference in Liverpool. Our speech reminded attendees that children abroad should have the same right to education as young people in the UK. We spoke about the schools we visited in the urban slums where we witnessed the inequalities of education faced by Indian children. We talked about our meeting with representatives of Oxfam India and about speaking at the public hearing. Having experienced the education system in India first hand, we hoped to deliver a powerful message about rights of children abroad to our teacher audience.

I hope the teachers gained a new perspective on teaching and the challenges facing some education systems abroad. The audience were really engaged in what we were saying and we hope they will sign up their schools to the 2013 send my friend to school campaign.

Sam adds that he hopes the campaign will gain momentum and that as the campaign gets stronger, governments will become more likely to act.
We were really thrilled to recieve a standing ovation from the delegates. We were glad to get teachers approval for our campaign. We understand that this was a first for global meetings at the NUT conference.

This week we have launched this year’s campaign within our school. All tutor groups are watching our video and next week we will follow up with assemblies.

 

The JOSH Project


The JOSH project that we visited on our first day in Delhi, produced a news item on their blog. We’re so pleased they are spreading the word too : )
 
Please look at the article here:

Updates on the statistics from India

Here are some recent findings that Maju from Oxfam India sent us - they're at  http://www.firstpost.com/india/only-7-percent-schools-rte-compliant-rte-forum-684879.html


NUT statistics handout


Some news stories about us recently

An interview done on BBC School News Report Day


Ringwood School's BBC School News Report Day

http://bbcnsr.ringwoodschool.co.uk/special-features/

Please follow this link to see the videos and news articles written by Year 9 Btec Creative Media students on School Report Day 21st March 2013

Our Fact Finding Tour Of Delhi


Oxfam's Video of our trip

Please follow this link to a video Oxfam have made about our trip and the work they are doing:

http://www.sendmyfriend.org/resource/millie-and-sams-trip-to-india/ 

Day 5 "The people we have met have been so inspirational for us.”

Today we had the opportunity to take time out, do a little sightseeing and reflect on our experiences of the past week. We visited Red Fort, a grand red sandstone fort that demonstrates the power of the Mogul Empire. There were spacious grounds with beautiful buildings and many visiting tourists. We also filmed nearby in the beautiful Lodhi Gardens. It was like a secret retreat with sweeping lawns and old buildings of grand style and history. It felt far away from the slums of Trilokpuri and Madanpur Khadar.

This week has been both an eye opener and extraordinary. Both of us have learnt and gained so much knowledge and understanding. The extreme poverty was a shock to us and really shows that where you are born dictates the chances you have at life.
If the Indian government spends the targeted amount of GDP on schooling then the level of education would most definitely improve. All the country needs is the political will to drive forward better education for all.

As well as the government needing to allocate more money, it also needs to fairly distribute the money for all children. We observed two schools within the same local government programme but with vastly different standards. This is unfair. A similar observation applies across the world. Every child can receive a good education if the political will is there and the needs of the poorest are not overlooked.

We now more clearly understand the part that the younger generation can play in campaigning for the right to education. All the people we have met have been so inspirational for us. The young, articulate school students, such as those we met at Trilokpuri and at the YP Project, were passionate advocates for the education of others. Those in the slums were desperate to promote their own need for education and for the infrastructure that allows it. This was the key message of the public hearing, where the community stated their grievances about the poor quality of their schools and demanded action.

From this experience we firmly believe we both can campaign more effectively for education. We are armed with an amazing real life experience of both the barriers to education and the ways communities can take action to make the government stick to their promises. We look forward to linking up with young people in the UK and our new friends in India to help make education for all a reality.

We feel fortunate and privileged that we had the opportunity that few others get, actually meeting community members, visiting schools and meeting organisations that help to get more children into education. Thank you to the Global Campaign for Education UK, NUT, Oxfam India and Oxfam GB for giving us this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Day 4 in the Indian heat


Today we revisited the community at Mandanpur Khadar and Oxfam’s partner EFRAH. We saw how the problems we had witnessed two days ago can start to be sorted out and fixed.
We were there to attend a public hearing which provided the public with a chance to state their individual grievances to officials. They were asked to say what actions will be taken by the local government to make improvements.
The community spoke about the bad infrastructure in schools, poor teaching and the sexual harassment that girls face on a daily basis while going to school. We were shocked to see how many people had come with complaints for the Delhi Committee for Protection of Children’s Rights.
We were invited to sit on the panel and be witnesses to the public hearing. Towards the end we were asked to give our own testimony about what we had seen in the local school. We explained that we had observed most of their grievances and that we completely agreed that changes are urgently needed so that every child receives a fair and equal chance for an education. The audience loudly applauded and at the end of the hearing we were presented with flowers. We felt extremely proud to have added our own voices to the testimony that the local people had presented.
We then met up with Anita from the Adolescent Girls Awareness Group. She been the first witness at the hearing and she raised many issues about the poor quality of the school infrastructure. We spoke to her afterwards and she showed us around her local community and pointed out her journey from home to school. As we were about to leave Anita gave us gifts that she had handcrafted herself. This was a very emotional moment. It was sad to leave Mandanpur Khadar as we had started to make some good friends there. When we said good bye it was with some sadness.
However we will write and e-mail to stay in touch with the community and work to build links between the projects in India that we have visited and the UK.

Day 3


This morning we travelled to a downtown office block and met Mr Ram Pal Singh  (pictured above, centre), president of the All India Primary Teachers Federation (AIPTF) and Mr Rama Kant Rai, Convenor of India’s Global Campaign for Education Coalition (pictured above, far right).
This gave us the opportunity to find out more about teaching in India from the point of view of influential adults. We had formulated questions based on our discussions with children during the previous two days.
For instance we heard that some teachers had only 20 days training before being thrown in the deep end in front of a class! They are also obliged by law to take part in censuses of trees, animals and people, and in election counts. This partly explains some of the issues we saw the previous day at the primary school. We thought this lack of training and additional duties were appalling.
Short term contracts also meant children lacked continuity in teaching. The members of AIPTF said that the staff: student ratio should be 1:30 but the national average was 1:50 or higher. This leads to many problems for the teachers and the students they are teaching.
Our hosts then invited us to another Delhi Municipal Council school. It was hugely different to the school we had visited the previous morning and had much better facilities and more classrooms. This really showed us how unequal schools are even though they are within the same Delhi local government administration.
In the afternoon we met with the YP group. This is an organisation that uses peer educators between the ages of 18 and 21 to teach children from urban slum settlements. One of their projects teaches life skills to help increase children’s memory, concentration and health awareness.
We talked to two of the peer educators Niharika, 18 and Raghav, 18. They were both extremely passionate about helping to improve the children’s knowledge and life skills. They also said they were learning a lot themselves from the children. Our talk with these two passionate young adults was truly inspirational.
After meeting the peer educators we were taken to one community where the educators work and we were able to interact with the children. They lived in a barely noticeable slum just a few yards from one of Delhi’s main tourist attractions. We sat in the park and discussed the problems that the children face on a daily basis to get to school. One was that they had to walk for about 45 minutes as they couldn't afford the school bus. There was no help to provide the children and the families with this money.
Today we have heard the other side of the teachers’ story and also saw that the YP project helps to get children into school by getting the correct documents filled in. Without the proper birth certificate and proof of address it is impossible to enrole at school.  It has been very useful for adding to our fact file and has been a thoroughly interesting day.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Day 2 in Delhi, India

On our second day in New Delhi, India, we travelled to Mandanpur Khadar which is an surban resettlement colony on the outskirts of Delhi. The Oxfam partner working there is called EFRAH, meaning Empowerment for Rehabilitation, Academic and Health. This organisation was set up to help get children into school and deal with problems that they may have at school.
First of all we were taken into a primary school where we attended Maths and English lessons. Although Sam couldn’t understand what the students or teachers were saying he thought that it looked as if the teachers were doing the best possible job to engage the pupils and give fun and interesting lessons. The teaching standard that we observed was very different to what we were told about yesterday by the children at the JOSH project. This proves that there are two sides to the story and that India has committed teachers.
 
After this we met a group of girls our own age. The members had faced many difficulties at school. In addition boys and young men regularly harassed them on their journeys to and from school. Some of the girls we met told stories of having stones thrown at them and others told us about sexual harassment including boys and men calling out abusive language.
One of the girls that Millie met wouldn’t even tell her parents of the sexual harassment that she was experiencing as she was afraid that her parents would blame her and take her out of school. This really shows how vulnerable girls in India are to dropping out of school and how determined they are to complete a good education.
Today has fully opened our eyes to the reality of the education system in India and especially to the injustice that girls face on a daily basis by the simple action of going to school.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Day 1 on our fact-finding mission in India


We spent our first day in Trilokpuri visiting the Josh project in an urban slum settlement. Virtually all children we met said they were in classes of between 70 to 80 pupils at school, a real eye opener for both of us. We were stunned to hear this, as an English class size averages about 25-30 students.
We also heard from the children that many teachers do not turn up to school, miss classes, use their phones in lessons and don’t pay enough attention to students. They also regretted a lack of interaction with teachers. We wondered why and whether teachers in these large classes could actually cope! We hope to find further information about this later in the week. We also heard teachers had to spend a long time on non-teaching activities.
Our overall impression of Delhi was that this vibrant, noisy, colourful city is one of two extremes and reflects the ‘two Indias’. However everyone appears happy, perhaps happier than English students. Everywhere we were greeted with the warmest of welcomes with children laughing, singing and playing with us.