Pupils were very saddened to hear of the assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai. They organised a petition to show their support. Over 2 million people around the world signed the online petition. The children even got the children's Minister Gwenda Thomas AM and Frances Bestley, the Education Programme Director for UNICEF UK to lend a hand & sign it.
Originally started by the Children's Commissioner School Ambassadors, younger pupils took charge of the project and at lunchtimes even took it outside so pupils could make a handprint and write a short message. Millbank has been very active with children's rights & especially Global education for many years, so this really struck a chord.
Pupils are not in uniform for some of the photos because they were doing a fund-raising activity for a local tragedy in which a mentally ill man had used a van to deliberately run over and injure 13 adults and children killing Karina Menzies. They raised over £100 for one of the charities set up to support the victims. Again it shows that pupils try to make a difference in their own community too, and also that tragedy can strike anywhere to anyone, it does not matter what country what religion.
There were lots of items on the news about the incident and how Malala was being treated in the UK, so the children knew a bit about the story and the fact that they were one of the signatories to the petition. It was an excuse for the helpers to tell other pupils about the story and why they should support it. Some of the older pupils and Rights Leaders were able to think about all the children's rights from Right of Expression (art 12); Right to form an opinion (art 13); Right to go to school (art 28); ... through to the Right for schools to teach them ..respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. ...Preparing the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin." (art 29).
We want all pupils to feel that they can 'BE THE CHANGE' and that they should try to change the world for the better.
One of the children's favourite quotes in our environmental club Green Gang, is by Robert Swan OBE: "The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It." and it's equally valid in other areas of our life too.
Looking at these issues in other countries of course helpful to understand the stories we hear in our own country about intolerance and
the rise in popularity of extremist parties. Sometimes we are quick enough to point out the Human Rights abuses in foreign countries without questioning our own governments suggestion that we do not need Human Rights here in the UK, or that they are somehow anti-british and a foreign imposition on our own laws.
Another important reason we have worked on Global education for several years is that we want to make our own pupils realise how important it is and that they should make the most of the educational opportunities available to them here in the UK. Whilst some children are not allowed to go to school and are trapped in a cycle of poverty in some parts of the world, here in the UK Truancy is a problem!
We try our best to keep parents informed about the work that their children are doing in school through the weekly parent's newsletter and we put links to the online petitions and information sites throughout the year.
On 20 November -Universal Children's Day- the secretary general of the UN Ban Ki-Moon launched the Education First initiative. In June we reported that former Prime Minister (Pictured with our MP Kevin Brennan and Millie Banks our mascot) Gordon Brown was the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education. The Educational Envoy website is here.