Children in charge - Plan International backs historic UN youth takeover

Campaigner Malala to make passionate plea for girls' education on 16th birthday

NEW YORK, July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Young people from all over the world will undertake the first ever youth takeover of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday July 12th, led by schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130711/DC45576)

Malala will mark her 16th birthday by leading the unique event calling for urgent prioritisation of education in failing states across the globe, supported by child rights organisation Plan International and many others.

The teenage activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban will take to the podium at the UN in New York to address some 650 children and youth, urging governments and leaders to tackle the issue of millions of girls and boys missing from schools worldwide.

Plan international is sending a youth delegation from over 15 countries, all of them passionate advocates for the right to education.

An ardent campaigner for girls' education in Pakistan, Malala was shot in the head by extremists as she made her way to school last October. The attack came just two days before the launch of Plan's launch of its global girls' education campaign. This will be her first major public appearance and speech.

The UN youth takeover is calling for urgent action by member states to ensure they meet Millennium Development Goal 2 on education by 2015. Their inputs will also then feed into setting the agenda for global education priorities post-2015.

Plan's own global campaign, Because I am a Girl, is working hard to support millions more girls to realise their right to an education currently denied by barriers such as child marriage and gender based violence in and around school.

Plan International CEO Nigel Chapman said: "This is an extraordinary and truly landmark event which rightly puts both youth and education high up there on the agenda.

"Malala has become iconic in representing many girls' difficult struggle to obtain their rightful education. But there are millions of 'other Malalas' across the world – a whole generation of girls and boys who are excluded daily from learning by violence, discrimination or harmful traditional practices. This momentous takeover day is about standing together and ensuring that their voices are heard.

"The passing of a historic youth resolution in the UN General Assembly is an important opportunity to call on the world's leaders to do much more for education - to deliver on millennium development goal promises and in setting the post 2015 development agenda."

"Education for girls is essential. They become aware and can learn life skills. In hard times, they can earn a livelihood and help support their family," Humaira, aged 18, Pakistan.

In addition to activities in New York, Plan is hosting a live link-up with the event at London's Southbank Centre which will be attended by hundreds of school children, youth representatives and Plan UK Ambassador, Sarah Brown.

Youth in Sierra Leone will be orchestrating a takeover of the country's national parliament and there are events in 10 Plan program countries, including Pakistan.

BACKGROUND
The UN takeover is part of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Education First initiative and has been organised by the UN Special Envoy for Education, Gordon Brown who will be in attendance on the day.

  • Today around 57 million primary school aged children are not in school (30 million girls). 
  • Around 1 in 3 girls worldwide is denied an education due to violence, discrimination, poverty and practices such as child marriage.
  • Because I am a Girl is Plan's campaign to fight gender inequality, and aims to support millions of girls to get the education, skills and support they need to transform their lives and the world around them.
  • Founded over 75 years ago, Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world. We work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. In 2012, Plan worked with 84 million children in 90,131 communities. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.

JOIN the campaign, raise your hand in support of girl's education & send your message to the UN Secretary General.

#bcimagirl

SOURCE Plan International



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