The Salvation Army is #UpForSchool
The Salvation Army pledged its support to one of the biggest petitions in history—#UpForSchool—demanding that world leaders take immediate action to get every girl and boy into school. Salvationists, friends and students of Salvation Army education establishments are now called on to join the 5 million signers to date.
Before the end of the last millennium, world leaders agreed a promise to get every child into school by 2015 but progress has stalled.
Now, through #UpForSchool, young people, non-governmental organizations, civil society, teachers, faith-based organizations and more than 100 of the world’s leading businesses are coming together to make a call for action for all children, no matter who they are or where they are born. The petition will be used to show world leaders that there is a movement of people standing up for the 58 million children around the world currently excluded from school because they are child laborers, married too young, discriminated against, exploited or living in war-torn regions where their schools, school children and teachers are under attack.
“The greatest resource in the world today is not oil, gold or money—it’s the millions of young people whose potential is yet to be realized,” said General André Cox, international leader of The Salvation Army, in encouraging Salvationists to sign on. “We need to empower them, support them and engage with them. School provides a route out of poverty, and good education is vital if every child is to have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.”
In 2015, as the Army celebrates its 150th anniversary, it has around the world 2,700 schools, colleges and universities, with 18,485 teachers providing an education to 686,166 pupils including a large number who wouldn’t otherwise be able to go to school.
According to Lt. Colonel Dean Pallant, director of The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission, if each of these students and teachers signed the petition, along with every Salvation Army officer and every senior and junior soldier member, it would add up to 2.5 million signatures. “’How many signatures are possible if every Salvationist invited their friends to sign the petition?” he said.
The #UpForSchool campaign is organized by a unique global coalition called A World at School, co-founded by Sarah Brown, wife of former UK Prime Minister the Rt Hon Gordon Brown, which brings together NGOs, teachers, businesses, civil society groups and faith communities around the world to work together to get every child into school
“We are excited to be in partnership with The Salvation Army as part of the global movement,” said Ben Hewitt, director of campaigns at A World at School. “Faith communities have played a vital role in many of the great social justice movements that have transformed the lives of millions of people around the world and it is inspiring to be working together on this historic campaign to get every girl and boy into school and learning. No child should be denied an education and together we are building a message that no world leader can ignore.”
The Millennium Development Goals, including the pledge to provide schooling for all children, were set to be achieved by 2015. Not all of the goals set in 2000 have been achieved, and world leaders will meet in September 2015 at the United Nations to agree on goals for the next 15 years. The #UpForSchool petition, including all of the signatures collected by The Salvation Army, will be presented by Gordon Brown—in his role as United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education—to world leaders at the September meeting. It is hoped this will be the largest petition ever.
The petition states: “We, the world’s youth, teachers, parents and global citizens appeal to our governments to keep their promise, made at the United Nations in 2000, to ensure all out-of-school children gain their right to education before the end of 2015. We are standing up to bring an end to the barriers preventing girls and boys from going to school, including forced work and early marriage, conflict and attacks on schools, exploitation and discrimination. All children deserve the opportunity to learn and achieve their potential. We are #UpForSchool.”
Sign online or print a paper petition and submit to territorial headquarters by June 30 via salvationarmy.org/upforschool.