Young campaigners: speaking up at the Girls Education Forum

Yesterday hundreds of delegates from around the world, from youth campaigners to government Ministers, came to Westminster for an event hosted by the Department for International Development: the Girls Education Forum.

Our young campaigners, George and Emily, from Ysgol Plasmawr, were there too. They took to the stage to tell everyone about the vital importance of education in emergencies. George said,

“Girls are missing out more and that’s why today’s focus is on girls education. Coming from war or disaster-stricken countries girl refugees are vulnerable. A school provides them not only with an education, but with a caring community and a safe place to go. A place where a young girl needn’t worry about being attacked. An education is pivotal not only for the futures of these girls, but for their immediate safety too.”

They also spoke about the role of Send My Friend to School in holding our leaders to account for the promises they have made. Emily said,

“The need for global education is frequently an issue that gets overlooked, or brushed under the carpet, especially in richer countries like ours. The Send My Friend to School campaign puts pressure on our leaders to discuss this vital issue. It makes the topic of education an unavoidable issue, and an issue that must be dealt with.

“…I’ve realised that a world where millions of children can’t go to school should be a thing of the past or a collection of facts in our history books. But unfortunately it’s not history, it’s happening. This should be enough to drive all of us to campaign for a world where every single last child can go to school and learn.”

Download Emily and George’s inspiring speech at the Girls Education Forum in full.

Muzoon Almellehan, a Syrian refugee, who is currently studying for her A Levels in the UK, also spoke at the event. Muzoon had this message on the importance of education,

“Some people say refugees are a lost generation. We are not lost. We have not lost hope. We have not lost our love of learning. But we need your help.”

Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for International Development responded warmly by telling the young campaigners,

“The best people to advocate for education for young people are young people like you…. You are absolutely fantastic… We are going to continue to put education and girls education at the forefront of our [DFID’s] aid strategy.”

We were very excited to see that Justine Greening also announced a new £100 million pledge from the UK government to help 175,000 girls in the world’s poorest countries to access a quality education.

Photo (L-R): Deng Yai, Minister of Education for South Sudan, Muzoon Almellahan, refugee and campaigner, Julia Gillard, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Emily Pemberton and George Watts from Ysgol Plasmawr, Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, Tanya Steele, Interim Director, Save the Children UK