Send my Friend to School Campaigners ask the UK government to make a big investment in GPE

Amy Range and Ellen Withington, Send My Friend to School Campaigners (UK)
October 24, 2017

Hi, we are Amy Range and Ellen Withington, we were selected from many applicants to become Campaign Champions for the Send My Friend to School campaign. We joined the campaign to get involved with politics and use our voices to help those who do not have the opportunities we do. Through the campaign, we have become more confident, met amazing people and learned so much.

The problem?

There are currently 263 million children worldwide who are missing out on school and many more who are in school but not learning. World leaders have promised every child a quality education – but something is still missing.

 

The missing piece?

The money to fund education for every child, and that’s why we’ve been calling on the UK government to make a big investment in the Global Partnership for Education – the only fund devoted to funding education in the world’s poorest countries.

With this aim, ourselves and the other Campaign Champions have been attending events across the country calling for the right of every child to go to school. Earlier this month, we attended the Conservative party conference alongside two of our fellow Campaign Champions, while others attended the Labour party conference. We spoke to lots of MPs, including Alistair Burt MP (a minister in the Department for International Development) and many others.


"The missing piece is the money to fund education for every child, and that’s why we’ve been calling on the UK government to make a big investment in the Global Partnership for Education." 



"Education can be a pathway not only for one person or one family but for whole communities, it can help to lift an entire country out of poverty."


After looking around the conference exhibitions and speaking to attendees, we met two girls – almost the same age as use - from The Gambia; Fatoumatta and Therese. 

They were there with their teacher, Leeza, and the General Secretary of The Gambian Teachers’ Union, Marie Antoinette Corr. Just like us, they were there to represent Send My Friend as their Young Ambassadors. They were on a two-week trip to the UK, traveling across the country and using their voices to stand up for their friends in The Gambia and across the world who aren’t receiving a quality education.

It was really interesting to hear how Fatoumatta and Therese’s’ lives were different to ours – but also to hear about the similarities. We were shocked to hear about some of their young friends who are already married and had been pulled out of the education which they value so much. But despite what they told us about the children missing out on school in The Gambia, their passion and drive were utterly inspiring.

The final activity of the conference was an important one. We spoke on a panel alongside Wendy Morton MP, Michael Tomlinson MP and Rt Hon David Evennett MP. We spoke about our campaign and were asked questions like -  what motivates us? Why do we believe in the campaign? 

 

Our answer?

What motivates us is the knowledge of how privileged we are, and wanting to use that for a campaign we believe so strongly in. Why should a child be denied a basic human right just because of where they were born, their ethnicity, gender or sexuality? Who knows – one of the children being denied their education could be the one to find a cure for cancer. Education can be a pathway not only for one person or one family but for whole communities, it can help to lift an entire country out of poverty.

It was an amazing day. We believe and hope that we made a difference in asking the UK government to make a big investment in the Global Partnership for Education, and showing them the importance of achieving a quality education for all!

 

 

Amy Range and Ellen Whittington, both 14, attend King Edward VII School in Sheffield, England. They were selected as two of twenty Send My Friend Campaign Champions who are campaigning to ensure every child gets to go to school. 

Send My Friend to School is a UK civil society coalition of international development NGOs, teachers’ unions and charities. It brings together young people, politicians, teachers, civil society and the media in joint campaigning to demand quality education for all children across the globe. Each year hundreds of thousands of UK young people take part in the campaign, teaching young people the power and importance of using their voices in chorus with others across the globe to create positive change. Send My Friend to School is the UK coalition of the Global Campaign For Education movement which is present in over 80 countries around the world.