Tuesday June 30, 2015

Al Jazi Hasan delivers passionate speech about universal education & new IR collaboration

Al Jazi Hasan from the charity Educate A Child delivered a passionate speech about the great work they are doing to bring education to all children, globally. There was also an exciting announcement of a collaboration between Educate A Child and Islamic Relief, to bring education to more children, across the world. Her full speech is here:

 

“Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Thank you all for joining us tonight, and thank you Islamic Relief, for this collaboration that we are certainly proud of and excited about.

As you have seen in the video, the situation of education around the world is not ideal, there’s 58 million out of school children, denied the access to education. Whether it’s due to war and conflict, whether it’s poverty or natural disasters, these children are denied their right, their right to education. In 2012, her highness Sheikha Moza launched Educate a Child to fight this problem alone.

We put a target to reach 10 million children by 2016. A lot of people told us this was not achievable. I’m going to quote here what Sarah said once in a meeting: “We don’t do ‘achievable’, we do ‘not achievable’ and achieve it.” And this is what we try to do. Since 2012, we have committed already for 5 million children, and we have 5 million to go until 2016. We’re present already in 38 countries and have 42 projects. I know most of you wonder why education, and I’m going to tell you personally my point of view.

I studied politics, believing that knowing the politics behind this world will lead to world peace, and then I worked in the cultural field believing that understanding of civilisations will make it clearer for me. But then I was dragged into the education field when it wasn’t my aim. But then I realised that education is the foundation beyond all of this and the base for everything.

I wouldn’t be here without the education I had, no one would be here without the education they had. And I think this is a right that all the children in the world deserve. I thought like most people think. When there’s a crisis, we donate, we help people, we build hospitals, we send aid, we send medicine, we build homes and that is needed and we are appreciative of all of that. But that’s not the long-term solution. Education is.

If we don’t fix the problem from the root, if we don’t show people how to fix these problems, we will not be reaching a long-term target. When I realised this, this is a personal story as well. I went on a field visit to Brazil, and we went to visit a couple of schools, and there’s this area protected by the head of a gang. We were looking into the school and in the school there were cages to protect the equipment. So I asked him why are these protected, and he said we kept having people steal stuff from the school.

He’s a head of a mafia, and I know people told me he’s not a prime example to talk about tonight, but he told me, when someone stole from the school I punished that person severely in front of the school as a lesson to those who think of stealing again. I’m not going to tell you how these punished him, because again I was told not to say that, but it was severe. It just struck me that what we would call a corrupt individual, cared about education so much, and I thought why, is it because of what he’s been through, or because he doesn’t want his community to go through this, and it just hit me. That we need to put education on top of our agenda, the world needs to put education on top of their agenda.

Another story is, I received a short video from the ministry of Nigeria, it’s a video of a girl in the middle of the desert under a tent, it’s supposed to be their class room, and she didn’t have hands, and she was writing with her toes, and that image struck me because when they asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said I want to be a teacher, and I just stood there and thought again, why? Why does she want to be a teacher? Even though the circumstances were difficult. Because it’s important,this is what they see as the solution to the problems they’re in, and this is what we believe.

We are privileged and we should see education the way it should be seen by everyone, a number one priority to us, our children and the world. Education is a foundation of life-long prosperity, it is the foundation of health and nutrition, security and peace. When we educate a child, we’ll fight for these children, we’ll tackle the barriers that are put against them and try to find innovative ways.

We’re not a one size fits all. We don’t just build schools in countries and put students in them; we find innovative ways. There was a short clip of her Highness in the video on a boat school. That is a collaboration we are proud of with BRAC. It is one example of what we do. They create boat schools in areas of Bangladesh where there are floods. This boat school collects the student from their homes, so avoids the problem of transportation, and it becomes a school within itself. So that’s the point, you’re breaking the barrier and finding a solution and it’s something we are really proud of and something we are looking into in all areas around the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are on a mission on behalf of these children, and everyone’s support is needed today. We are looking forward to our presence in the UK and the region, and we welcome your partnerships who share the same passion as us. Thank you once again, and as we approach the month of Ramadan I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a blessed month.”

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