A SUNDERLAND teenager has played a major part in a global day of action calling for every child’s right to go to school.
United Nations (UN) youth representative, David Crone, from Ashbrooke, presented the I am Malala petition to the Pakistan High Commission in London.
It coincided with other petitions handed in throughout the world and a meeting between UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown and President Zardari of Pakistan.
The call for action comes after Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education in the Swat valley.
The 15-year-old is now recovering in a Birmingham hospital
“We are here because we are standing in solidarity and partnership with Malala in search of education for all children,” said David, 17, an A-level student at Sunderland College.
“We think this is an extremely important opportunity to make sure that Pakistan recognises the importance of getting these people into education.
“Malala has shown incredible courage in her push for girls’ education in Pakistan.
“We honour what she has done to try to improve her community and her country.”
Former Prime Minister Mr Brown said: “This is a really important cause. All young people are entitled to the same level of education, and no young person should be excluded because of their gender.
“If girls are to receive a good level of education, they also need the solidarity of men and boys around the world to achieve it.
“The fact that Malala is being treated in the UK has really brought this issue home to me. We want international leaders to commit to furthering the cause of girls’ education.”
New UN figures show Pakistan has the second largest number of girls out of school in the world.
Global children’s charity Plan has worked on education in Pakistan for the past 15 years.
The organisation is backing the work to end gender discrimination in school in Pakistan and internationally.
“Sixty-six million girls globally are denied the chance to complete secondary school,” said Plan UK campaign manager Naomi Williams.
“Plan’s global Because I am a Girl campaign is calling for further political action to break down the barriers to schooling so many girls face – such as violence, gender discrimination and poverty.”
Plan is supporting the government of Pakistan to commit to undertaking a gender review of the government’s Education Sector Plans, and implement an action plan to ensure all girls successfully complete at least nine years of quality education.