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Students become citizen journalists to campaign against land grabs

Posted by Kate Evans Education Marketing & Communications Manager

9th Jul 2013

Toby Holder, Edgar Roberts and Eve Raphael were three of 15 students from Years 10 to 12 who became citizen journalists during a Globe Day at Bootham School.  

The students learnt about land grabs and citizen journalism before staging a 'mock land grab' on the steps of Bootham School.  They each wrote a personal account of what they had seen.

Why do land grabs take place? Edgar Roberts was a 'land grabber investor' 

Yesterday we bought Bootham School (fair and square!) in order to build an oil well. We bought the school from the government for a reasonable price to make an investment; it's all legal and clearly a good thing (especially for us); and we can't fight the need for new resources, can we? 

Besides, this is something happening worldwide as we speak: all across the globe governments, food exporters, tourism providers (the list goes on) are grabbing land for things as necessary as crops sometimes - how can that make the hunger problems worse, I ask you?

It does, admittedly go back to our home country and takes away all of other people's resources, but at least we're not starving. It's a cruel business… but fair.

What is the impact of a land grab? Eve Raphael was a 'victim'

They couldn't have come on a worse day as it was the day of my GCSE's. I had worked as hard as I could and was extremely nervous. Just as I was about to turn to the main hall, I saw lots of men in yellow hats chatting amongst themselves.  

The teachers were glancing at one another looking rather weary and after a long discussion they came up and told us that we were not going to sit our GCSE's at all, and we wouldn't even have a school! 

They explained to us that the land grabbers had come and just taken our school from us (apparently that's what they could do). We had done lots of protesting and made lots of posters but they would not move, so after hours of trying we had to give up eventually as we knew that we couldn't do anything to stop this terrible tragedy.

What can you do?  Toby Holder is a campaigner.

A land grab doesn't seem to mean much to most people, but the definition of a land grab is unknown to the victims too until it has already happened. 

Land grabbing is a term used for the action of big businesses purchasing large areas of local farm land from governments in countries such as Honduras, Indonesia, Liberia and Sudan without any consent at all of the people working, living and producing food off the land. This can mean that small land owners, who have spent the whole of their lives living off the land, are thrown off without any warning.

The only people who benefit from a land grab are big companies who already have enough money, and governments. It destroys the lives of whoever is living on the farm along with their family.  Land the size of the city of London gets seized every six days. Oxfam needs your help to stop land grabs, so go check out their website and see what you can do

Blog post written by Kate Evans

Education Marketing & Communications Manager

More by Kate Evans

Kate Evans