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.