Salvos support worldwide school petition
5 May 2015
The Salvation Army has pledged its support to one of the biggest petitions in history – #UpForSchool – demanding that world leaders take immediate action to give every child an opportunity for a school education.
Salvationists and friends of The Salvation Army are being invited to join the five million people who have already signed the petition.
At the turn of the century, world leaders agreed on a venture to give every child in the world an opportunity to attend school, but progress has stalled. There are still 58 million children around the world who cannot attend school for a variety of reasons. They could be victims of child labour, married too young, discriminated against, exploited or living in war-torn regions where their schools, school children and teachers are under attack.
Now, through #UpForSchool, young people, non-governmental organisations, civil society, teachers, faith-based organisations and more than 100 of the world's leading businesses are uniting to make a call for action.
The Salvation Army's international leader, General André Cox, is supportive of the petition and hopes that The Salvation Army, active in 126 countries, can mobilise people to add their signatures. He says: “The greatest resource in the world today is not oil, gold or money ... it's the millions of young people whose potential is yet to be realised. We need to empower them, support them and engage with them. School provides a route out of poverty, and good education is vital if every child is to have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.”
General Cox is urging each Salvation Army territory, region and command around the world to encourage its members, officers, employees, staff and others – including children over the age of seven – to sign the petition.
The #UpForSchool campaign is organised by a unique global coalition called A World at School (www.aworldatschool.org), co-founded by Sarah Brown, the wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The coalition brings together NGOs, teachers, businesses, civil society groups and faith communities around the world to work together to get every child into school.
Ben Hewitt, Director of Campaigns at A World at School, says: “We are excited to be in partnership with The Salvation Army as part of the global movement. Faith communities have played a vital role in many of the great social justice movements that have transformed the lives of millions of people around the world and it is inspiring to be working together on this historic campaign to get every girl and boy into school and learning. No child should be denied an education and together we are building a message that no world leader can ignore.”
The #UpForSchool petition, including all the signatures collected by The Salvation Army, will be presented by Gordon Brown – in his role as United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education – to world leaders at the United Nations in September 2015. It is hoped this will be the largest petition ever.
The petition states: “We, the world's youth, teachers, parents and global citizens appeal to our governments to keep their promise, made at the United Nations in 2000, to ensure all out-of-school children gain their right to education before the end of 2015. We are standing up to bring an end to the barriers preventing girls and boys from going to school, including forced work and early marriage, conflict and attacks on schools, exploitation and discrimination. All children deserve the opportunity to learn and achieve their potential. We are #UpForSchool.”