Long congratulates East Belfast Girls on participation in ‘Send my Sister to School’ Campaign and Exhibition

An exhibition opened this week in the House of Commons, Westminster, including artwork from Braniel Girls Brigade Company from East Belfast, as part of the Send My Sister to School campaign, in which over half a million young people in the UK took part, to support girls’ education worldwide.

Send My Sister to School was organised by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a coalition of charities such as ActionAid, Oxfam and Comic Relief and teachers unions including the National Union of Teachers (NUT), united in their determination to make the right to education a reality.

Altogether young people from over 6,000 schools and youth groups across the UK created inspiring ‘Sister’ messages, which were sent directly to their MPs for a response.

In East Belfast, girls from Braniel Girls Brigade, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock and Bloomfield Collegiate School participated and the Braniel girls artworks were included in the parliamentary exhibition.

Speaking after the launch, Naomi Long MP for East Belfast said: “I was delighted that the work of girls from East Belfast has been included in this exhibition in Parliament, as this is clearly an issue which matters deeply to them. I received a number of pieces of artwork and personal messages from girls in the constituency as part of this important campaign, which were really inspiring.

“Education is the key to improving health, reducing infant mortality and to enabling people to participate in society. In 2000 world leaders promised that every child in the world – both boys and girls – would complete a quality primary education by 2015. This promise became part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Sadly, in 2012, 67 million children in the developing world are still missing out on education and, in parts of the world, a disproportionate number are girls.

“This campaign is an opportunity for young people to learn mote about the importance of education, the lives of their peers in other countries and ABC also to experience how to participate in the democratic process themselves.”


1. www.sendmyfriend.org features lesson plans, teacher templates, loads of activity ideas and background information on the situation for children and teachers in the developing world.

2. The facts…

67 million children globally are out of school35.5 million girls globally are missing out on school28% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa are not in primary schoolTwo thirds of the 759 million illiterate adults are womenOn current trends over 50 million will be out of school by 2015.53% of children out of school are girls

(source – Global Monitoring Report 2011)

3. The story so far:

2000 – World leaders promise a primary education for all by 2015

2003 – GCE smashes the world record for the Biggest Lesson ever, with two million children taking part2004 – Two and a half million take part in The Big Lobby, bringing politicians back to school and taking over parliaments and official buildings

2005 – Five million ‘buddies’ – each representing one of the 100 million children out of school – are sent to world leaders.

2006 – My Friend Needs a Teacher – over six million campaigners in 112 countries highlight the global teacher shortage

2007 – JOIN-UP – children and communities in 120 countries around the world joined up with human or paper chains to show world leaders their commitment to education for all2008 – 8.8 million children in over 100 countries took part in a record breaking ‘World’s Biggest Lesson’.

2009 – Millions of children in over 100 countries took part in The Big Read event, alongside well known writers, to highlight the importance of literacy.

2010 – ‘1 GOAL – Send My Friend to School’ tied in with the World Cup and was supported by FIFA and many famous footballers around the world. In the UK 1 million pupils took part and made supporter scarves which were sent to David Cameron.

4. The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a coalition of child rights activists, teachers’ unions and development organisations around the world, united in their determination to make the right to education a reality.

5. The GCE UK partners are: ActionAid, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Book Aid International, CAMFED, Christian Aid, City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development, Consortium of Street Children, Comic Relief, Deaf Child Worldwide, Education Action, Handicap International UK, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Link Community Development, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, National Union of Teachers, Oxfam, Plan UK, Results UK, Save the Children, Sightsavers, Steve Sinnott Foundation, Toybox, Voluntary Service Overseas, World Vision UK

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