Former Speaker in the House of Commons, Baroness Betty Boothroyd, and the first Asian woman to be given a peerage, Baroness Shreela Flather, started a campaign to enroll 1000 secondary schools across the UK to an initiative “1000 schools for 1000 girls” set up by The Commonwealth Girls Education Fund (formerly the CCLEF). Each UK school that enrolls will encourage each of their pupils to raise one pound a year.
A school of 500 pupils will raise £500 a year, which will be enough money to send one or more girls in a Commonwealth country such as Bangladesh, Belize or Ghana to school for a year. By enrolling 1000 schools, the aim is to raise enough funds to put at least 1000 girls in the developing world through secondary school.
Thirteen UK schools have already expressed a desire to enroll and the organisers hope that the target of 1000 UK secondary schools will soon be reached. The initiative was launched in the House of Commons Jubilee room by its Patron Baroness Flather, the first Asian woman to receive a peerage.
Former speaker of the House of Commons, Baroness Betty Boothroyd, and Nick Boles, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Schools Minister Nick Gibb who was representing the Minister of State for Education Mr. Michael Gove, both spoke passionately about how the initiative can change lives and communities in the developing world. A number of secondary schools from across the UK were in the audience.
What is the programme all about?
School children in the UK are vehicles for change!
In 1988, the students of Burntwood School in Wandsworth, South West London were touched by the plight of Ladi, a girl from a large polygamous home in North Central Nigeria. Ladi’s father had died, leaving three wives and many children with no means of livelihood. At that time, Ladi was selling bean cake and child-minding before having to walk 20km to and from school in a bid to get an education.
These school children, some of whom were from economically disadvantaged backgrounds themselves, in an unbelievable spirit of generosity offered to support Ladi and Beatrice, another girl with a similar plight. They raised money through a variety of ingenious and fun activities to ensure that their peers in these faraway countries have a chance at a better life.
Ladi went on to put herself through University and now holds a Masters Degree as well as chartered credentials in Management. Over the years she has sponsored and supported a number of girls through secondary school in her home country, giving real meaning to the the saying ’…support a girl and you support a family, community and a country.’