Up For School Campaign in New York City
Written by Briana, a UNICEF High School Club leader.
As a UNICEF High School Club leader, my friend Jamie and I had the opportunity to attend an event in NYC. Our role was to document as UNICEF youth reporters the successes of the Up for School campaign, celebrate the achievements so far, and emphasize through social media the importance of youth taking action to address the world’s biggest problems.
The event began with the Mecca Dynasty step team, Berean Community Drumlines, and Amrit Kaur Lohia performing routines to start off the event. It was unreal being in the town hall where so much history has been made, such as women rights movements, civil rights movements and now children's rights movement with the Up for School campaign. The Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF explained that no child should be denied an education, but unfortunately many are. By signing the Up for School petition we can achieve the global goals of education so everyone is able to enter and remain in school. 10 million people have already taken it, making it the largest petition ever signed.
Lulu Cerone co-hosted the event with actor Rainn Wilson. Lulu is a 16 year old girl just like me, who has supported the campaign as an ambassador. This really shows how much children's voices have a say in global epidemics. After listening to the guest speakers sharing information on their organizations, I found it hard to grasp that there are children still forced into marriages, labor and human trafficking. We heard a story of a girl who escaped from being abducted during school in Chibok, Nigeria. Not only should school become accessible to everyone, but it should also be a source of safety. Children should not worry about violence when attending school. Therefore, the contributions towards the Up for School campaign are vital in order to achieve that every child goes to school.
"Education is the only tool to get out of the circle of poverty" -First Lady of Panama Mariam from Senegal was so determined to get an education that she began school at 16 and is now a CEO of a tech company. It's not too late for anyone to learn. Overall, throughout the event it was clear that we need youth involved if these goals are going to succeed.
This event inspired me to share everything I learned with my UNICEF High School Club so that everyone else is motivated to share with their peers whether it's through speech or social media. This will get more people buzzing about the problems the world is having with education and get them thinking of ideas for fundraisers and just bringing general awareness to what UNICEF is trying to achieve. Overall, the youth perspective is obviously needed by political leaders to make decisions about children's education because we are the future.