Send My Friend campaigners visit Parliament
Send My Friend to School is a coalition made up of many charitable organisations, all working hard to provide better education for all children abroad. This year, three of our Year 10 students applied to the programme and were successful at interview; they are now official Campaign Champions. This means they will promote the campaign in their school, their local primary schools, and the wider community to help bring awareness of the fact that children abroad are not accessing a quality education. Sean and Victoria tell us in more detail about their exciting trip to Parliament where they advocated for support on the focus of this year’s campaign which is ‘All My Friends Need Teachers’.
On Wednesday 22nd June, myself, Victoria W and Robbie B had the immense privilege of visiting and advocating at Parliament on June 22nd as "Campaign Champions" of the Send My Friend to School Campaign. We attended a training course in March of this year with other representatives from each of the Send my Friend network of schools prior to our excursion to Westminster, where we learned critical oracy and public speaking skills, as well as learning about the current campaign; ‘All my Friends need Teachers’. Meeting and networking with the other ‘Campaign Champions’ was enriching, and the skills we rehearsed proved invaluable on our Parliamentary ‘Action Day’.
Upon our arrival in Westminster, we donned our visitor passes and proceeded to the Jubilee Room, inside which we had a meeting with Sarah Champion, Chair of the International Development Committee and MP for Rotherham. It was fascinating to learn more about the IDC’s work in Parliament, in addition to advocating for the importance of investing in teaching worldwide, and recommitting to the targets set during the 2021 G7 summit. Following the meeting's conclusion, along with a group photo with Sarah Champion and the rest of the Campaign Champions, we returned to Westminster Hall, where we were given a guided tour of the building by MP allies of the campaign. We entered the House of Lords, and observed the opening of Parliament (The result of some excellent timing!). Learning about the storied history of such a significant building. We were very fortunate to be guided around the building by people so knowledgeable on its modern function and landmark past, especially since guided tours around Parliament are typically quite exclusive. After lunch, we left Parliament and prepared to embark on one relentless, daunting, laborious and gruelling excursion… Just across the road, to Portcullis House. We headed to our office space, and set up for our MP drop-in session. We spoke to MPs from Southall to Blaydon, all whilst making our case for global investment in teaching. As we recalled our training, myself and the rest of the Croxley Danes ‘Send my Friend’ team were confident and steadfast in our pitch to MPs. After the conclusion of our session, we took a U-turn back to Parliament to sit in on a session in the Commons. It’s fascinating to think that so many decisions that affect millions of people have been made in this chamber, relatively unchanged since its founding. The experience was incredible, to say the least. Personally, though, I found that I most enjoyed the experience of speaking to so many different people. Regardless of their views upon the political spectrum, we found that MPs were happy to speak to us, and took our concerns seriously. Being surrounded by such steadfast people, all of whom have the confidence to speak their minds and create change for their country and constituents is inspiring. I believe that I have gained so much from my experience with ‘Send my Friend to School’. And I’m looking forward to continuing my activism with the coalition.
Last week, as part of our role as Campaign champions, myself, Sean, and Robbie attended an action day.
We had a VIP tour of the Houses of parliament - even allowed to go into the House of Lords. It was very interesting to learn about the history and to sit in the viewing section during a debate in the House of Commons - this allowed us to know the structure of a parliamentary debate.
We had the chance to meet Sarah Champion - the Chair of the International Development Committee - who was invested in our cause, giving us some great feedback and information about the lack of education for girls in Afghanistan and Ukraine.
During our lobbying event at Portcullis House, we talked to many MPs to drum up support for our campaign. It was great to gain the support of our campaign, as all MPs agreed that teachers are the most fundamental part of a good education globally.