Thursday, 18 April 2013

Day 5 "The people we have met have been so inspirational for us.”

Today we had the opportunity to take time out, do a little sightseeing and reflect on our experiences of the past week. We visited Red Fort, a grand red sandstone fort that demonstrates the power of the Mogul Empire. There were spacious grounds with beautiful buildings and many visiting tourists. We also filmed nearby in the beautiful Lodhi Gardens. It was like a secret retreat with sweeping lawns and old buildings of grand style and history. It felt far away from the slums of Trilokpuri and Madanpur Khadar.

This week has been both an eye opener and extraordinary. Both of us have learnt and gained so much knowledge and understanding. The extreme poverty was a shock to us and really shows that where you are born dictates the chances you have at life.
If the Indian government spends the targeted amount of GDP on schooling then the level of education would most definitely improve. All the country needs is the political will to drive forward better education for all.

As well as the government needing to allocate more money, it also needs to fairly distribute the money for all children. We observed two schools within the same local government programme but with vastly different standards. This is unfair. A similar observation applies across the world. Every child can receive a good education if the political will is there and the needs of the poorest are not overlooked.

We now more clearly understand the part that the younger generation can play in campaigning for the right to education. All the people we have met have been so inspirational for us. The young, articulate school students, such as those we met at Trilokpuri and at the YP Project, were passionate advocates for the education of others. Those in the slums were desperate to promote their own need for education and for the infrastructure that allows it. This was the key message of the public hearing, where the community stated their grievances about the poor quality of their schools and demanded action.

From this experience we firmly believe we both can campaign more effectively for education. We are armed with an amazing real life experience of both the barriers to education and the ways communities can take action to make the government stick to their promises. We look forward to linking up with young people in the UK and our new friends in India to help make education for all a reality.

We feel fortunate and privileged that we had the opportunity that few others get, actually meeting community members, visiting schools and meeting organisations that help to get more children into education. Thank you to the Global Campaign for Education UK, NUT, Oxfam India and Oxfam GB for giving us this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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