Global Youth Ambassadors on #UpForSchool: Beyan Pewee
Up for School or #upforschool campaign
A World at School hosted the #UpForSchool Petition and the September Forum in New York during the United Nations General Assembly. In a week-long series, four of our Global Youth Ambassadors and a member of the Youth Advocacy Group are writing blogs about their experiences while attending these and other events.
MONDAY: Bamine Boye, Sierra Leone. TUESDAY: Munira Khalif, USA. WEDNESDAY: Beyan Pewee, Liberia. THURSDAY: Sumaya Saluja, India. FRIDAY: Alexandria Fitzgerald, USA
My name is Beyan Flomo Pewee and I was born in the slums of Konyamah, Guinea in 1996 during the Liberian Civil War.
I always believe that if one reflects on the past, one can feel hardship and pain, or one can discover lessons and hidden strengths. My life has been hard but it has allowed me to overcome situations and be the voice for my friends, and many brothers and sisters across Liberia and West Africa.
I am a passionate global youth education activist and a winner of the UN Special Envoy on Global Education Youth Courage Award. I am thrilled to be recognised as an outstanding youth who is fighting to get every child in school and learning. The Youth Courage Award is important and I appreciate it – but with 58 million primary school children out of school, I dedicate this award to youth who have not yet joined the movement to get these kids in school.
I will continue working on education until these children are in school and learning. This is why the #UpForSchool Petition is so important – every child has the right to go to school, without danger and without discrimination. I have been working on education for years now and it’s time for young people to demand change.
Back in 2013, I led the Malala Day celebration in Liberia that brought together more than 200 young people from across the country to raise their voices for quality education, with support from Plan Liberia. The celebration was not the end of the campaign but it was an important step in the fight for quality education.
I founded a youth-led NGO called the Youth Coalition for Education (YOCEL-Liberia), that will follow up on the Liberian Youth Resolution that was crafted and remains a key factor in campaigning for education. My campaign caught the attention of the office of the President of Liberia, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Liberia, A World At School, PCI Media impact, Plan International and other business institutions.
Furthermore, I was recently appointed as a Global Youth Ambassador at A World At School and also serve as a member of the Learning Metrics Task Force 2.0 Global Citizenship Education Working Group on Policy, Advocacy, and Communication that is convened by the UN Youth Advocacy Group, the Center for Universal Education and UNESCO.
Aside from efforts in the education area, I am also fully engaged with the fight against the Ebola virus that has killed 2746 persons in West Africa. Through my organisation I run a community sensitisation and awareness campaign in every corner of Monrovia with support from the UN Community Outreach Division. We work to educate the public on the dangers of Ebola by distributing messages from the World Health Organization and the United Nations. Ultimately, we’d like to quell the growing death rate in Liberia so that no one else dies from Ebola.
I believe in the incredible power of young people and I believe they have the ability to contribute to the ongoing battle against Ebola. The virus has affected the economy of the country and has been detrimental to the education system we have been fighting to improve and secure. The closing of schools during this time creates another gap in the education sector and it is important to recognise these related issues.
While the fight against Ebola remains a critical subject, I kindly appeal to international institutions and friendly partners to see how best they can develop an approach that will enable children to return to school. Through all of my advocacy work, I will remain loyal to the fight and promotion of quality education. Liberia will rise again!