September 23, 2016

"We must make the most of every opportunity to ensure that the voices of children are heard by world leaders"

Ousmane Ba and Taha Fathima Khan

Global Youth Ambassadors reporting from the UN General Assembly

A World at School's Global Youth Ambassadors (GYAs) are a network of passionate advocates in 85 countries around the world.

Two of them - Taha Fathima Khan from India and Ousmane Ba from Sierra Leone - are in New York this week for the launch of the Education Commission report and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Their GYA Journal tells each day what they've done, who they've met and how they're promoting the cause of education for all.

Our final day in New York! We started very early in the morning (at 5am!) by helping out with the preparation for a Global Business Coalition for Education breakfast event held at Theirworld’s office in New York.

We were excited to join in and felt very much like part of the team, as all the staff were supporting us along the way.

Shortly after the GBC-Education breakfast, there was a Roundtable discussion (with Theirworld’s Founder and President Sarah Brown and former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard), which was focused on private sector collaboration in the campaign for accessible quality education for all.

Both events focused on needs-based education and the speakers discussed ways of transforming education delivery in order to reflect current challenges and to provide opportunities to succeed in this highly competitive world.

Taha had a memorable week - here she is with children's campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi at the Education Commission report launch

Photo credit: Theirworld

Needs-based education is especially significant for conflict-affected children. As of now, “less than 1% of refugees have access to education,” said Amel Karboul, Tunisian politician and business leader.

This statistic is staggering but with needs-based education these children will receive an education to help them reintegrate into society.

Also interesting was Tamas Deutsch, Hungarian member to the European Parliament, who talked about how access to digital education can increase equality. In our technologically-driven society, digital education is an essential tool to keep up with the world.

The private sector’s role in increasing access to education is crucial and business stakeholders must take bold steps and tap into different channels to ensure a quality education is provided for all.

Meanwhile, our Consultant Youth Coordinator ,Yara El Harake, attended the Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria. 

Yara, who lives and works in Beirut, brought letters from Syrian refugee children in Lebanon with her to New York to read them out aloud at the event.

On hearing that her letter would be travelling to the UNGA, one girl told Yara: “When I think that my letter will be heard at the UN, it makes me think that people know nothing about our lives but now I can tell them directly, live from the camp, about our problems here.

"The most important thing is for them to know what’s going on."

This week, as the eyes of the world are turned on New York, we must make the most of every opportunity to ensure that the voices of children are heard by world leaders. 

Ousmane with Education Commissioner Julia Gillard at the UN

We spent our afternoon blogging, tweeting and Instagramming - and with that we came to the end of our week at the UNGA!

The goodbyes were bittersweet and we’d like to thank the whole team for making this week more exciting than it already was.

Look out for our wrap-up blog post coming soon, where we’ll reflect on the week as a whole to consider how successful our #SafeSchools campaign has been so far and what needs to be done next.

We are a global children's charity committed to ending the global education crisis and unleashing the potential of the next generation.

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