Young campaigners lobby DFID minister
John McLaverty Education and Youth Advisor
22nd Oct 2013
On Monday 14 October twelve young people from around the UK met DFID Minister Lynne Featherstone to represent the half a million school children who took part in the 'Send My Friend to School' campaign during 2013. Here Millie Wells, Sam Whittingham, Katy Barrett and Samantha Kimberley, all Year 11 pupils at Ringwood School in Hampshire, report on their day.
The four of us left Ringwood School early in the morning and traveled to London with the mission of representing the half a million young people in the UK concerned about the 57 million children worldwide who are missing out on education. In London we met up with pupils from four other schools who'd also been active in the Send My Friend to School campaign.
We made the short journey from Oxfam to the DFID office for the high point of the day; our meeting with government minister Lynne Featherstone. Sam quickly introduced everyone and we posed for photos. The meeting with Ms Featherstone followed and we enjoyed asking questions such as, "How can we ensure that children who are disabled get the education they need?" and "How can we make sure that teaching is of good quality?" Sam chaired the meeting and had the challenging task of keeping everyone to time. He did brilliantly.
Ms Featherstone warmed to our questions and answered them as honestly as she could. We learnt a great deal about what the government is doing to try to get all children into education by 2015. She admitted that this goal would not be met! At the end of the meeting we formally presented Lynne Featherstone with a collage we had made and discussed each school's efforts to support the Send My Friend to School campaign.
Ms Featherstone said, "It was fantastic to meet such passionate children who care so much about the world they are growing up in and helping to shape. I was impressed by their understanding of the importance of education and their commitment to help less fortunate children across the world receive the education they deserve…. Making sure children in developing countries get a good education is a priority for DFID and we are working with other countries to make sure that education is an important part of the new set of development goals to be agreed in 2015."
We left Whitehall with Zahra and Aaron from Kingsbury High School. After photos under Big Ben, we swapped Facebook and Twitter details and went our separate ways. What a fantastic day. Thank you Oxfam and GCE UK for giving us this great opportunity"
Sam and Millie blog at: http://millieandsamyoungambassadors.blogspot.co.uk/