On Tuesday 14th November 2023, the Send My Friend to School Campaign Champions had Parliamentary Action Day, where they met with decision makers to campaign for the right of every child, everywhere to access a quality education in times of emergencies
Our 20 Campaign Champions came from across the UK to Westminster, where they brought the #LetMyFriendsLearn campaign directly to Parliament, calling on the UK Government to protect all children’s learning in emergencies, including by pledging to support funding for refugee education at the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) 2023.
The day started with a tour of Parliament, before a meeting between the Champions and Melinda Bohannon, Director General, Humanitarian and Development at the FCDO. Topics included the necessity of a quality education for children during emergencies, the Sustainable Development Goals, and why meaningful consultation with young people is so important.
We then had our MP drop-in session, where Campaign Champions met with 25 MPs, outlining the case for protecting every child’s right to quality education in emergencies, and demanding they take action to ensure no children gets left behind ahead of COP28 and the GRF. The Campaign Champions met with politicians from across the political spectrum, with a united message- Let My Friends Learn.
Gagan Mohindra, Conservative MP for South West Hertfordshire said: ” My constituents Emma and Jess came to Parliament today with Send My Friend to talk to MPs and champion educational access for refugees. I was thoroughly impressed by [the Campaign Champions’] knowledge of global affairs. They were well-informed and passionate about this very important issue”. Baroness Natalie Bennett, previous leader of the Green Party highlighted the importance of the Champions’ ask to restore the ODA budget to 0.7%.
Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing, Southall stated : “important discussions with ambassadors from Send My Friend about the terrible effects climate disasters are already having on globally. Education must be systematically integrated into COP28’s climate agenda if the UK is serious about its sustainable development goals”
Our Champions then headed to No.10, to hand in a letter they had written to Rishi Sunak with their campaign asks, as well as examples of student work and photographs of the campaign in action from primary and secondary schools across the UK.
The campaign champions undoubtedly left a huge impact, and we hope to see ambitious commitments and decisive action from the UK government on education at COP28 and the Global Refugee Forum.