Ruby Kellard, 20, from the University attended the UK Government’s first ever Girls’ Education Forum in London on Thursday 7 July. She joined government ministers from countries including Tanzania and Afghanistan, and pioneers in education and women’s rights including Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister and chair of the Global Partnership for Education.
At the Forum they worked on a plan to ensure that every girl, everywhere, receives a quality education, and announced that Britain will dedicate an extra £100 million to education programmes for 175,000 of the poorest and most marginalised girls around the world.
Ruby was invited to attend the forum after taking part in the Department for International Development (DFID) funded International Citizen Service (ICS) programme, which brings together 18-25 year olds from the UK and some of the world’s poorest countries to fight poverty in Africa, Asia and Central America.
Ruby volunteered in Zambia in 2015 to help deliver a curriculum of Sexual and Reproductive Health sessions in schools and youth groups.
She said: “It’s shocking that in present day so many girls still miss out on a decent education just because they’re born girls. During my project in Zambia I lived with a host family and my host-mother was a great – but rare – example of a mother pushing for her children to stay in education, she would proudly tell me how none of her girls had husbands and had all gone through university! But I found it hard to accept that her viewpoint was in the minority and so an event like this forum was great to show that real steps are being taken to end these stereotypes.
“I heard some of the world’s leading voices make commitments to girls’ education, and I’m proud that the UK is leading the way with an extra £100 million in funding.”
International Development Secretary, Justine Greening said: “The UK is leading the fight for gender equality and has already helped 5.3 million girls in developing countries receive a quality education. I am proud that the UK will now be helping a further 175,000 of the most vulnerable and marginalised girls in the world to get the education they need to have choice and control over their futures. Fantastic volunteers like Ruby Kellard are a vital part of this work.”
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