Girls in the world’s poorest countries will be helped to go to school safely thanks to a donation of £7,000 made to one of the world’s leading children’s charities, Plan UK, by Newcastle High School for Girls.
A cheque was presented to Gary Sutcliffe, support development advisor, from Plan UK, during a whole school assembly at Newcastle High on Friday 29 April. Gary talked to the girls about the charity and how the money raised will be used to help girls internationally gain an education free from violence.
The money was raised by combined fundraising efforts by all 1,100 girls, aged 3 – 18 and teachers at Newcastle High School and by a group of young philanthropic entrepreneurs at the school.
In March, the whole school took part in a 10K sponsored walk from the school to the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and back. The 10K distance is symbolic as it marks the distance many girls in developing countries have to walk to get water each day even before they can consider going to school.
It is the third year that Newcastle High has taken part in the sponsored walk for Plan UK and this year they have added another £7K to the money raised for the charity, which will be used to help girls worldwide receive quality education free from violence.
The money, being presented to the charity on Friday 13 May, also includes a contribution from a group of young entrepreneurs from across the school who have donated profits from a range of their enterprise initiatives.
Teams of young entrepreneurs in the Junior school took part in Virgin Money’s ‘Make £5 grow’ campaign which resulted in the largest amount of money Virgin Money has seen raised in the shortest amount of time. Young entrepreneurs in the senior school also raised money from various enterprise initiatives and committed to donating profits from these ventures to Plan UK.
The school’s donation will help fund Plan’s work with some of the poorest children around the world and help them fulfill their potential, as well as raising awareness about the educational and social struggles many girls face.
Every day, girls living in the world’s poorest communities are denied the chance to go to school due to poverty, violence and discrimination.
47% of girls say they do not feel safe on the way to school because of threats, fear or physical or sexual abuse on the journey.
Hilary French, Headmistress of Newcastle High School for Girls and vice president of the Girls’ School Association, has been a Plan supporter for several years and last year (2015) visited two education projects launched by the charity in Uganda.
Commenting on the walk and the work of Plan, Hilary said: “The lives and opportunities for our girls and those in Uganda are poles apart but their aspirations are the same.
“As a school we have adopted Plan UK as one of our chosen charities because its work strikes a chord with our school and its values. Creating opportunities and offering a safe and nurturing environment where thousands of girls can learn is our aim for our school and our work with Plan. We hope that we can help girls be safe and receive an education which will make a huge difference to their lives.”
“We’re very proud of our young entrepreneurs and their enterprising initiatives – and we are delighted that they are demonstrating their philanthropy by committing their profits to this worthy cause.
Siya Dhir, one of the young entrepreneurs explained: “As a team we decided to donate 100% of our Young Enterprise profits to Plan UK. There are many girls around the world who hugely benefit from this charity. We are able to send 14 girls to school for a year from our donation and this is much more rewarding than anything we could have spent this money on. We are very grateful to Plan UK for giving us this oppurtunity.”
Newcastle High School’s Head Girl, Zoya Zaman, 18, led on the organisation of the sponsored walk and commented: “Having been to Kenya last summer I was able to see gender inequality to a very scary and shocking degree. Girls in particular, face barriers to education every single day; and the long and dangerous journey to school is simply one of them. Often in the UK we take our education for granted; we are surrounded by so many fantastic opportunities that it can be easy to forget about the bigger picture. Walking 10k in support of girls around the world who are deprived of these opportunities, starts a conversation about rights for children across the globe.”
Read more about Plan UK’s World Wide Walk.