About us

Theirworld is an innovative charity which helps children to fulfil their potential. 

Through research, pilot projects and campaigning, Theirworld is at the forefront of testing and shaping new ideas to help give children in the United Kingdom and around the world the best possible start in life.

What do we do?

We help as many children as possible, from vulnerable babies whose lives can be saved with medical advances, to children and young people who need greater support and encouragement.

From the laboratory to the school classroom and beyond, we work to identify what needs to be done to overcome the barriers that stop children getting the best start in life. We research, we discover, we innovate, we advocate for change.

We don’t shy away from the big challenges or tackling the big problems. We run pilot projects on the ground to prove that these changes work. And we open up the opportunity for new ideas, projects and funding to deliver real change to those most in need.

Our origins

The campaigner Sarah Brown founded the charity in 2002 as PiggyBankKids with the aim of helping professionals to do work that saves and transforms children’s lives. That work was about supporting scientific and community research into solving pregnancy and childbirth issues.

The first project was to set up the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh, where research work continues.

As the charity became international in its outlook and reach, the PiggyBankKids theme was retired to be replaced by Theirworld. But the same passion is applied to a wider range of Theirworld projects which have the aim of making children’s lives better.

Read more about the history of Theirworld.

Our goals

Theirworld’s work is led by principles of hope, change and challenge that we believe will lead to a brighter future for all children.

Hope signifies work with safe pregnancy and childbirth to give each child the best start in life.

Change is about giving children the chance to learn and bring about their own changes. Theirworld is committed to helping every child get a school education.

Challenge means Theirworld is prepared to take on the big problems that stop children from learning and reaching their full potential.

Promise is about ensuring that we see hope realised. That means turning goodwill into real action that delivers tangible results. It means putting pressure on world leaders and tracking their promises. And it means driving change through our research and pilot projects.

Our causes

Cause 1: Every mother and baby must have access to quality pre-natal care and every child should have nurturing care and development from birth to age five.

Read more about this cause that affects babies and young children.

Cause 2: Every child deserves to have a free, quality education at primary and secondary level.

Read more about this cause that affects children of school age.

Cause 3: Every young adult has the right to skills development, including technical and vocational skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.

Read more about this cause that affects young adults.

Our campaigns


Every child has a dream. But there is a global education crisis creating a vast divide between children who will have the chance to realise their dreams - and those who who will be left without an education, skills or opportunity. There is an idea big enough to make the impossible possible and to fund SDG4: The new International Finance Facility for Education could generate more than $10 billion in funding for education annually. The G20 committed to action at the G20 Summit in Hamburg in 2017, and since then, over 1.5 million people have signed petitions calling for action. 

Read more about the campaign to #MakeImpossiblePossible


Launched in September 2014, the #UpForSchool campaign called on world leaders to keep to their promise to get every child in the world into primary school and learning by the end of 2015. The year-long campaign was supported by school students, out-of-school children, parents, business people, youth, university students, community leaders, religious leaders, politicians and many others. More than 10 million people worldwide signed the petition, which was handed in to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. It was the biggest petition for education in history and a massive global declaration that every child deserves a quality education.

Read more about the #UpForSchool campaign.

#Rewriting the Code

Aimed at changing the embedded values that keep millions of girls around the world out of school. Launched to coincide with International Women’s Day 2016, it called on the international community to start getting serious about shaping the future for a generation of women. Celebrities, business leaders, influencers, campaigners and youth across the world shared the message on social media.

Read more about the #RewritingTheCode campaign.


In February 2016, world leaders meeting at a conference in London promised to provide the funding to get one million Syrian refugee child into school in the 2016-17 academic year. As it became clear the funding was not coming through, the #YouPromised campaign was launched to remind them not to break their pledge. More than 20,000 messages were delivered to the co-hosts of the conference.

Read more about the #YouPromised campaign.


Launched in October 2016 to put pressure on world leaders to take urgent action to make sure all children - especially the poorest and most marginalised - have access to the full range of nurturing care. It calls on world leaders by 2017 to allocate the funds needed to establish quality early childhood development programmes so that every child is given the best start in life.

Read more about the #5for5 campaign.

Our movements and coalitions

A World at School

A World at School was convened by Theirworld in 2013 as a way of co-ordinating campaigning on global education. The A World at School network includes the Global Youth Ambassadors (GYAs), young people, NGOs, civil society, teachers, faith-based organisations, media and leading businesses, who all come together to drive action on global education.  We offer our GYAs training and advice on advocacy, campaigning, building networks, public speaking and running events.

A World at School is also a source of news from around the world, and was the genesis of the Their News channel providing updates, interviews, events, live coverage and multimedia - covering the issues around giving every child the best start in life and the right to a quality education.

Read more about A World at School.

Global Business Coalition for Education

Set up in 2012, the Global Business Coalition for Education brings the business community together to accelerate progress in delivering quality education for all of the world’s children and youth. GBC Education was established by Theirworld as a membership-led coalition to drive private sector engagement in education, with members including Microsoft, Reed Smith and Gucci.

Read more about the Global Business Coalition.

Global Faiths Coalition for Education

The Global Faiths Coalition brings together a diverse range of faiths-based organisations and networks primarily to support children's right to education. Organisations that join sign a common statement to acknowledge that education is a fundamental right of every child and the key to every individual’s wellbeing.

Read more about the Global Faiths Coalition.


Theirworld’s Voices channel brings you the personal stories of the people affected by the issues and those who are working to help them.

Read more from the community.

Our research

Double-shift schools

With the influx of large numbers of Syrian refugee children into neighbouring countries, Theirworld proposed using a “double-shift” school system where local and refugee children are taught at different times of the day in the same buildings. The system was adopted in Lebanon and then introduced in Turkey’s public schools.

Read more about refugees and internally-displaced people.

Safe Schools Nigeria

The Safe Schools Initiative was launched in Nigeria in May 2014 after nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok. Started with an investment from the Global Business Coalition for Education and supported by A World at School, Safe Schools Nigeria raised more than $30 million to protect schools in northeast Nigeria. Almost 50,000 children displaced from their homes by Boko Haram have been helped in various ways.

Read more about Safe Schools in Nigeria.

Syria reports

In 2015, Theirworld produced a series of reports, with A World at School and the Global Business Coalition for Education, on the state of the educational crisis for Syrian refugee children in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. The reports outlined the opportunities to scale up the education response efforts and drive more and better financing and coordination to reach over one million refugee children and young people.

Read the reports: 

Early childhood development

In 2016, Theirworld produced several pieces of research, including reports on the need for ECD in humanitarian emergencies and the global childcare crisis. We also published a scorecard that showed half of the world’s children are excluded from the benefits of a pre-primary education.

Read more about Early Childhood Development.


Theirworld monitors the commitments of donors and tracks pledges and real delivery on the ground to ensure that institutions and organisations are held accountable for their promises to children. This includes tracking the progress of funding promised at the Syrian pledging conference in London in February 2016, which is the focus of the #YouPromised campaign.

Read more about the #YouPromised campaign.

Our Projects

The Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory runs a successful medical research programme led by talented world-class scientists with a dedicated focus on making pregnancy and childbirth safer and seeking better ways to care for at-risk premature babies.

The Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort is a 25-year study to learn more about how being born too soon or too small affects children’s health in later life. Researchers from the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory will monitor the progress of 400 premature babies to adulthood. It is leading the project as part of its work to find new ways to prevent and treat brain injury in premature babies.

Code Clubs are safe spaces where girls can learn about technology and develop their skills, confidence and creativity. The aim of the project is to ensure that girls have the opportunity to realise their full potential. Code Clubs were piloted in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria in 2016 and will be expanded to other countries in Africa where safe schools and access to technology for out of school and vulnerable girls may be difficult to access.

Schools in Lebanon. Theirworld has been working to expand access to education through research, advocacy and campaigning, tackling the impact of the conflict in Syria which has left more than one million refugee children out of school. We invested in low-cost pilot projects to demonstrate how small-scale investment in key areas can significantly improve access to education and learning outcomes.

Schools in Turkey. Theirworld's pilot projects identify cost-effective interventions to get around the economic, cultural and language barriers that prevent Syrian refugees from getting an education. We are working with partners to address these critical barriers, such as language, in cost-effective ways and then share results.

  • Act