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Richard Benyon accepts Send My Friend To School Rucksacks

The Send My Friend To School Campaign 2016 focused on asking for education for children in countries affected by war and disasters. Richard Benyon MP visited St Gabriel’s on Tuesday 21 June to hear from pupils about the vital need to deliver education for the 37 million children who are out of school. Year 7 pupils made paper rucksacks that contained the essential items that refuge children would need to receive an education. The girls have been learning about the barriers to education for the tens of millions of children who are out of school in countries affected by war and conflict, natural disasters and health emergencies. They covered the rucksacks with messages asking for urgent action to ensure that no child anywhere in the world is left behind on education. They asked Mr.Beynon to deliver these to No10 to remind the UK government of the new goal of quality education worldwide for every child up to 15. Year 8 girls wrote letters asking World leaders for education as a basic human right for all children. In the middle of destruction, violence and instability, a safe place to learn can be a life saver.

Mr Benyon was very impressed with the rucksacks and letters and promised to pass them on the minister for overseas development. He then talked about the Brexit referendum and explained why he was supporting the remain campaign. The girls asked him some very searching questions and he gave thoughtful replies.

The whole school also benefitted from an assembly from Patrick Ngigi, the founder of Mission with a Vision ( , a charity which provides a safe home and education for girls in the Masai Mara and Narok area  of Kenya who are escaping FGM and forced childhood marriage.

The Send My Friend to School campaign is a schools based campaign organised by the Global Campaign for Education UK. Twitter: @sendmyfriend

Key facts discussed as part of the tutor group discussions included:

  • 37 million children are out of school in countries affected by crisis (22 million primary aged children and 15 million secondary)[i]
  • 24m children are missing school due to war & conflict – that’s 1 in 4 children across 22 conflict countries
  • 175 million children are affected by natural disaster every year, and disrupting schooling for many. In 2015 in Nepal one million children were left out of school after two massive earthquakes destroyed 32,000 classrooms.
  • In Sierra Leone nearly 2 million children were forced to abandon school because of Ebola.
  • In northern Nigeria the violence from Boko Haram has displaced 1.4 million children from their homes and destroyed 900 schools.
  • Less than 2% of aid in emergencies goes towards education
  • There is a global shortfall of £3 billion a year on aid to education in emergencies
  • In total 124 million children worldwide up to the age of 15 are missing out on school; 59m primary age and 65m missing out on lower secondary school.
  • Girls are two and a half times more likely to be out of school in conflict countries than if they lived elsewhere (EFA GMR 2015)
  • 90% of children with disabilities in the developing world are missing out on school (UNICEF – Global Initiative on Out-Of-School children)

Visitors to St Gabriel's quickly recognise that this is no ordinary school. Parents are always impressed by the sense of purpose and enthusiasm of the talented, committed staff and the confidence of the extremely happy pupils. We offer girls the opportunity for a seamless journey from Nursery through to Sixth Form, with our boys leaving us at the age of 11 for their senior schools.

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