Shukri Aden Iman sits on our Youth Panel. She went to Free The Children's We Day. Some of the schools taking part in this brilliant event were Team London Young Ambassador schools, a project supported by Spirit. She writes about her day:
Their slogan “Me to We” is effective in encapsulating the essence of the type of work their organisations do all around the world. The hybrid of children, teachers, honoured guests and sponsors is reflective of their widely applicable and inclusive message. The amazing performances by celebrities, and inspiring speeches by executives of Barclays and Virgin Atlantic Airways, reinforce the necessity of the work they do around the world. The event at The SSE Arena, Wembley, on 5 March, organised by international charity and educational partner, Free The Children, was an experience I was glad to have been given the opportunity to attend.
The event was organised to celebrate and further inspire schoolchildren all over the UK, and to recognise and promote youth social action and volunteering they have partaken in. It was interesting to learn that this was an event that was special in the way it chose its audience; no ticket could be bought, instead they had all been earned, meaning all those attending were involved in charity work and volunteering in their local and global community. Everyone present deserved their place there, making the day even more enjoyable and pleasant to be a part of. The fact that all the children who came were coming for an important reason, for their great work locally created a united and energetic atmosphere as all were tied together by a common cause. The variety of performances, including Connor Maynard and Mr. Probz performing their songs live, was incredible to watch. The hosting by Bluey Robinson and Laura Whitmore as well as a double appearance by online superstar Shawn Mendes certainly made the children very happy, as all were out of their seats during each performance. They were kept energetic and on their feet by the brilliant dancers who came on stage after each speaker.
The speakers who took the stage were undoubtedly inspiring, from young primary school children who had raised money during a bake sale, to the amazing discovery by teenagers and invention of a Solar Box by young adults was incredible to hear about. The idea and work sparked by two Canadian brothers that managed to reach and connect with so many different people around the world was exciting to witness. We were personally so fortunate to be graced with the presence of the founder of the Virgin Group (at just 16!) Sir Richard Branson, and Kweku Mandela who is the grandson of the legendary Nelson Mandela. Hearing from them, as well as others, about the importance of helping those around the world who are less fortunate to create a better life for themselves was motivating and successful in creating an impact on all present. Coupled with this, we were spoilt by the additional performances by poets, dancers and singers who were a part of a project Barclays were running to help young people progress in their creative careers. The amount of talent, wisdom and skill shown on the day was outstanding, memorable and definitely something to talk, even scream, about.
“Give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you will feed him for a lifetime.” This is a quote frequently used, but attending this event made me see how this is actually being played out in reality. The focus and emphasis on sustainability in all of the developing countries that Free The Children works in as part of their international development model, Adopt a Village, is powerful. These communities, individuals and families are empowered, rather than just being given aid, and that honestly is the most essential gift that can be given. I was pleased about the fact that the help and support provided would never end, due to the excellent work of charities such as these, as well as the volunteering and work of the communities they visited.
We Day UK was organised by international charity and educational partner, Free The Children.
Photos courtesy of Free The Children