This is a guest blog post by Claire Wilkinson, Senior Campaigns and Communications Manager of Theirworld. Theirworld is dedicated to projects that give vulnerable children a brighter future. A World At School is one of Theirworld’s flagship projects.
Right now, there are 58 million children around the world denied the same opportunity as other children to reach his or her full potential through education. The barriers preventing children from going to school are many, with young children forced into child labour, early marriage, conflict and discrimination.
It is a proven fact that education is the key to reducing poverty, eliminating gender inequality, preventing needless deaths and illness by diseases such as Ebola and to fostering peace to ensure no children are targets of needless wars. Every child around the world deserves the same chances in life as each other and should be given access to their fundamental right to an education.
In 2000, world leaders came together to set out the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of goals to achieve by 2015 to galvanise efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest, one of which was to give every girl and boy the right to a basic education. But progress to achieve this goal of education for all has stalled, and there is now a unique window of opportunity between now and the end of 2015 to demand change. But change can’t happen without pressure.
And it’s already growing. The #UpForSchool petition has been launched by Theirworld, aiming to be the biggest in history and bringing the voices of millions around the world together to create a movement of people demanding action. The petition will be delivered to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2015 by UN Special Envoy for Education, Gordon Brown.
This petition is already 5 million strong and building daily, with young people leading the way supported by teachers, business leaders, faith leaders, influential individuals and NGOs.
In Kenya at the start of December, the Kibera School for Girls helped mobilise 8,500 signatures from across the biggest urban township in Nairobi. With the support of the People’s Postcode Lottery, the school celebrated this overwhelming achievement, nearly 1,000 people came together including school children, teachers and parents and marched together standing up for the rights of children all over the world.
Towards the end of December, Special Envoy for Education, Gordon Brown joined 900 young people at a youth event in Kinshasa for the DRC launch of Up For School. More than 15,000 Congolese youth already signed the petition in just one week with plans to collect 1 million signatures in total.
Just last week the Girls Stand #UpForSchool petition was launched with a focus on the 31 million girls out of school with rallies in Uganda and other African countries supported by the People’s Postcode lottery, to raise awareness of the issues that lock girls out of the chance to learn. Famous faces such as Gordon and Sarah Brown, Shakira, Kelly Osbourne, Michelle Dockery, Pixie Lott and many more posted their school pictures online to stand beside those girls who will never have chance to have their school picture taken and continue to do so.
Next we are asking schools and teachers to mobilise and be at the forefront of this global movement, making #UpForSchool the largest petition in history. A teachers’ toolkit is now available, including ways for schools and students to get involved. Visit the A World At School website for more info and to sign the petition: www.aworldatschool.org
Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised £525,000 for Theirworld to date.
Play on Pedals has received delivery of hundreds of new bikes, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The project has used part of the 2014 Dream Fund grant to purchase a high quality fleet of children’s balance and pedal bikes and helmets for use across Glasgow.
This new bike fleet is being loaned out to local nurseries and community groups to share as a resource which will then be gifted at the end of the project, to ensure the training continues.
The top of the range balance and pedal bikes are a fantastic resource for groups engaging with Play on Pedals because they enable both instructors and children to learn how to use brakes, pump real tyres, adjust seat posts and learn about pedals and chains. Trainers demonstrate the benefits of balance bikes to staff at training days, emphasising how children learn to balance themselves without the use of stabilizers and, importantly, as a result of these resources, children can also learn about wearing a helmet and how to check their helmets are on safely.
Through the training programme, children will learn the names of the parts through fun games like ‘bike twister’ and adult Instructors are taught how to carry out basic safety checks for the bikes. In addition, Instructors can sign up for maintenance courses where they can learn how to change a tyre, replace brake pads and cables and ensure the bike is working safely.
Play on Pedals is also carrying out bike swaps with project partner The Glasgow Bike Station to encourage families to reuse their existing bikes or donate them to local nurseries and in this way increase the number of children’s bikes for Glasgow’s pre-schoolers. However, it’s thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery that Play on Pedals can provide such high quality equipment to Glasgow’s early years community.
This is a guest post by Gareth Simpson, Director of Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships, Opportunity International.
In September 2014 I was fortunate to visit Opportunity International’s programmes in Ghana, where the charity supports 70,000 small businesses with microloans and provides savings facilities to over 375,000 poor Ghanaians.
In Ghana, education is highly valued, as many know that a child with an education is more likely to break the cycle of poverty. But the Government’s State schools are bursting at the seams and the youth population is growing rapidly. In response, many community leaders and retired teachers are establishing community schools.
I visited Great Vision School – only a short distance from the major town of Kumasi but the roads were bumpy, winding and dusty making it feel like a different world altogether.
The head teacher of Great Vision, Samuel, founded the school in 2008 as a response to the lack of quality education in his home community. Samuel has worked with Opportunity International to grow the school and he now has 800 pupils.
Samuel knows the responsibility he has and his teaching staff were smartly dressed and enthusiastic to teach. The facilities were basic but the children had a hunger to learn and Samuel made a point of ensuring every child could access text booksAll of this combined was getting great results. Great Vision had ranked fifth in the region’s exams – with all 22 children who sat exams passing.
For those children and those still learning at Great Vision, a brighter future is ahead of them – all made possible by the hard work and determination of Samuel and his team and supporters like you.