The right of all children to a quality education, regardless of disability, is to be the driving force for this year’s Young Ambassadors.
The Young Ambassadors scheme is run by Send My Friend to School, part of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) which seeks to hold governments to account for the Millennium pledge of an education for all by 2015.
The GCE is now active in 100 countries worldwide but currently there are still 57 million children worldwide who do not receive a primary education.
Each year in the UK, two Young Ambassadors are named to help promote the campaign across the country. As part of their work, they will also travel abroad to investigate some of the barriers to education that children can face.
This year’s ambassadors are Maisie Le Masurier and Rebecca Unwin, both 14, from Guildford County School in Surrey.
As part of their work, the pair will travel to Uganda on a fact-finding mission with development charity Sightsavers to visit projects and investigate the barriers to education, particularly for children who are blind or visually impaired.
While there, Maisie and Rebecca will meet with campaigners, charity workers and policy-makers. They will also meet children who because of their disability are denied the chance to go to school and will visit the Uganda Inclusive Education Programme to talk to children with disabilities who are in school.
On their return, they will speak about the issues to teachers and Parliamentarians and will lead a delegation of young people to meet the minister for international development. Maisie and Rebecca will also work to promote the Send My Friend to School campaign and website through mainstream and social media and regional school events.
The duo were appointed to the roles after winning the Steve Sinnott Award, which was set up in memory of the late general secretary of the National Union of Teachers who was a passionate global education campaigner.
Maisie said: “We applied to be the Young Ambassadors because no child should be forgotten or deprived of a fundamental human right.
“We were particularly interested in this year’s theme because education is vital in giving disabled children the chance to overcome their disabilities and showcase their abilities.”
Rebecca added: “When we found out we had won, not only was I ecstatic but I feel that this is my opportunity to put my own personal experiences to good use.
“Due to a brain tumour four years ago I am now partially sighted and I have to deal with the consequences. I can’t imagine how my life would be if I were denied an education as a result of my poor eyesight.
“I feel I can really do something for these children as I believe it is an injustice for any person to be denied an education because of their disability or otherwise.”
For more information on how to get your school involved in the Send My Friend campaign, visit www.sendmyfriend.org CAPTION: Ambassadors: Maisie (right) and Rebecca, both 14, have been named as this year’s Young Ambassadors and will travel to Uganda