Running for a third year, My Voice-My School empowered students to be their own advocates for quality education. Students from London, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Washington, and Helsingborg have been working with their refugee peers in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on youth advocacy projects on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, Quality Education. Throughout the programme, three online video exchanges enabled students to share ideas and discuss the progress made on their joint classroom projects.
As part of their advocacy campaigns, students met with teachers and school leaders to advance their proposals to improve their school environment and access to education. Students in Syria advocated for more inclusive education and better access to education, especially for those who were left behind and needed extra literacy and numeracy classes. They worked together to improve their school environment by painting the grey walls in brighter colours and planting trees in the courtyard. In Gaza, students organised a cultural festival at school celebrating other countries’ cultures and traditions.
Girls like Rama from Syria, now living in Ayn al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, took a bold stand to put their education first, despite recent violent conflicts affecting the region and refugee camp. Her team visited neighbouring kindergartens and talked to the most disadvantaged families in the camp to send their children to pre-school. They also planted plants and started sorting waste to inspire others in their school to care for the environment.
The exchanges were lively and provided an insight on how the students living environments affected their education. Short ‘student voice’ films were produced to amplify young people’s lives and aspirations more widely. Media was invited to attend the discussions. The project enjoyed international media coverage, featuring on outlets such as BBC Spotlight in the UK, Der Tagesspiegel in Germany, EuropaPress and Cadena in Spain.