World Day of Prayer 2014 – A snapshot of action on education around the world
Up for School or #upforschool campaign
On the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, celebrated on the 20th of November of each year, faith-based and secular communities throughout the world came together to protect children from violence and defend their most basic human rights. The Day of Prayer and Action for Children is an initiative of Arigatou International – a member of the Global Faiths Coalition for Education – who led the day’s activities with a major panel discussion in Tokyo on child protection against online violence.
This year, the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children also marked the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and inspired a total of 75 events in 25 countries around world. Many of the activities organised by partners organisations evolved around the theme of education.
Here is a snapshot of how these communities took action in their own unique ways.
A World at School & Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Our Future, Our Rights: Youth Standing #UpForSchool
Registered as an official event of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, Our Future, Our Rights: Youth Standing #UpForSchool, was a youth rally hosted in London to mark the UK launch of the #UpForSchool Petition and call on world leaders to keep their promise to get all children into school and learning by the end of 2015.
2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi and United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown led the event and were joined by hundreds of young people including Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz – who were injured on the school bus when Malala Yousfzai was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan in 2012. A number of A World at School’s key faith-based organisations were present on the day.
Anita Morais is a Volunteer Coordinator for Bosco Volunteer Action (BOVA) who attended the Youth Rally. We asked Anita for her reaction to the #UpForSchool Petition and her opinion on the unique position of faith-based communities in a campaign to defend every child’s right to an education.
“Encouraging people to learn about and join in this campaign is just one way of living out my own mission as a person of faith. One of the phrases that really struck me in Gordon Brown’s introduction to the campaign was ‘that hope leads us to stand up for what is right, and faith-based communities certainly have hope that change is possible’ (whether it is in our individual lives or in the lives of others).
“Surely the hope that we can draw from faith can give us the courage to stand up for what is right and help to secure every child’s basic right to an education.”
Chine Mbubaegbu, Head of Media & Communications for the Evangelical Alliance UK, also attended the event and gave us her impressions of the campaign and the wider participation of faith-based groups in it.
Here’s what Chine had to say:
“Evangelical Christians have been at the heart of some of the world’s most significant campaigns for social justice, including the abolition of slavery, prison reform and education provision. I’m delighted to lend my voice as one of the millions around the world calling for a right to education for all children. What a difference it might make if faith groups use their influence and join with others to back the #UpForSchool petition.”
On World Day of Prayer and Action for Children 2014, partner organisations in India, Serbia and Nepal also took up the theme of education.
Standing Up with One Million Indian Children
One year after launching the “Standing Up with One Million Indian Children” programme on the World Day of Prayer 2013, Shanti Ashram gathered partners of the campaign to train volunteers and focus on Public Education and Action activities. The One Million Indian Children campaign seeks to improve the lives of children in ten states throughout India by working with the government, Gandhian organizations, religious communities and non-governmental partners to secure children’s rights to education and more. A central pillar to the campaign is to provide workshops at local schools and places of worship to educate children about their rights. Other emphases of the campaign include ethics education and child literacy.
Street Action for Children’s Rights
Sombor Education Centre
Young volunteers organised a rally on Sombor’s main road to draw attention to problems faced by children in their community and around the world. The volunteers also raised awareness about educational and creative programmes for children hosted by Sombor Education Center. These activities include drama groups, creative workshops, and assistance to children in learning.
Watch a video about the day’s activities here. (Video in Serbian)
Interaction Programme on Ethics and Education
Shanti Sewa Ashram, GNRC Nepal
The partners of Global Network of Religions for Children in Nepal held an interactive session on ethics education in three different orphanages in Kathmandu. GNRC Nepal works with faith-based partners and youth groups to support underpriviledged children in the local area through activities such as homework study groups, youth camps and mentorship.
Read more about GNRC Nepal here.
Members of the Global Faiths Coalition for Education were also active on the day – choosing to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by defending every child’s right to an education.
InterFaith Vision Foundation Cameroon (IVFCam)
North West Region, Cameroon
IVFCam provided support to one hundred orphans in the North West Region of Cameroon by covering the fees associated with birth registration and school certification. Around the world, children are often excluded from education because they lack birth certificates and cannot afford the price of registration. IVFCam, a member of the Global Faiths Coalition for Education, works to overcome these challenges and help children stay in school throughout Cameroon.
Read more about IVFCam’s work here.
Faith Groups Take a Stand for Global Education
Global Faiths Coalition for Education member Sojourners published an inspirational article on faith groups standing up for every child’s right to an education on the World Day of Prayer. Sojourners’ Women and Girls Campaign is a powerful movement for securing gender equality that is now fully behind the #UpForSchool peitition!
Elaina Ramsey, Sojourners:
“education is empowerment. It provides freedom and a better future—and no child in the world should be denied it. Let us all pray that every child can go to school. And let’s join other faith communities to make sure it happens—sign the petition now.”
Read the article here.
For a full list of the events hosted for this year’s World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, visit the 2014 events map.