Leicester Pioneers Action Project

Send my sister to school Woodcraft Folk Action Project

Send my sister to school is a campaign focusing on one of the Millennium Development goals set in 2000 to ensure a quality primary education for all children. As more than half the current 67 million children out of school are girls, this project is raising awareness in particular for the female issues.

We received £500 from the Woodcraft Folk Action Fund to support us in our work.

Aims:

Our plan was to make fair trade cake pops, and a hello around the world game that we’d take to events in Leicester throughout the summer. We had the opportunity to make a film with a Leicester film maker Bill Newsinger about our project, which we used to both promote our campaign and Woodcraft Folk. An important part of the project was also to do some campaigning at a higher level.

Process:

The children in the group were in charge of the project all steps of the way. Initially a group split off to bake several products which were tasted, costed and presented to the whole group for discussion. The other part of the group explored simple games that would fit our theme. These too were presented to the group as a whole and voted on.

Important decisions and compromises were made in the process and we discussed the principles that we didn’t want to compromise on and those that we were willing as a group to be flexible on. Our organic, fair-trade cake pops turned into fair-trade cake pops as a production price compromise, we felt that under no circumstances did we want to lose the fair-trade element. The game too took on a Woodcraft Folk motto theme of Span the world with friendship by knowing how to say hello in different languages. We were happy with our products and each had a job and responsibilities in bringing the stall as a whole together. On the stall we would also have a Woodcraft poster and leaflets to hand out to inform the public but also to encourage new membership.

Through the radio interview, talks with the mayor, our MP and the public, our the film and the presentation we learnt a lot about how to present our project and how to defend our position on something we felt passionate about. We were complemented on several occasions on how positive the group was and how fun we’d made fighting for a cause seem. One of the comments on Vimeo said ‘If we all have as much fun as these kids to help other people, the world would be a better place for everyone!’. Another said ‘what a wonderful project! love the companionship and level of thought put into the tiniest details of this project.’

Proccesses:

  • At the Riverside Festival we were interviewed live about the project on BBC Radio Leicester
  • Leicester Mayor Elect Peter Soulsby came to the stall and talked to us about the campaign
  • Our local MP Jon Ashworth invited us down to London to present our project to him and also gave us a tour of the House of Commons
  • Bill Newsinger worked closely with us to make the film and taught us a lot about filming, editing and presenting techniques
  • The film has been a great hit on Vimeo with lots of positive comments both about our group and the campaign
  • The film has been chosen to be shown on the Big Screen in Leicester from November for a six month period
  • In preparation for the trip to London we had a day where we lived in the footsteps of a child we are trying to help. We identified 3 main areas of how a child’s day is spent – fetching water, working to earn money for the family and living off basic food rations. The day along with our thoughts was filmed, edited and we added speeches for the presentation
  • MP Jon Ashworth was impressed with the presentation, enthusiasm and dedication of our group and promised to take up our cause in Parliament and ask a question on the groups behalf during the development session in January (or subsequent ones depending on when he’s called). The group presented a speech and a small film about their day mentioned above and presented him with a copy of the film we made with Bill.
  • Jon Ashworth tweeted about the group on 19th December 2011 saying “It was a pleasure to welcome young millennium development goals campaigners from Leicester South to Parliament today - they really knew their stuff.” He also retweeted the kids remarks such as “parliament was amazing!! I really enjoyed talking to Jon Ashworth!! Best day off school ever!!” (Betty) and a picture we took:

Personal links and continuation of work:

  • Some of the us have gone on to make more films with Bill Newsinger
  • Betty went on to join, as the youngest member, a film team to make a film about Leicester ‘This is the place’ with Citizen 598. This film was about multi cultural Leicester and was shown at the Phoenix Art House Cinema. It featured Bill’s music soundtrack. The film then was distributed to all schools within Leicester and Leicestershire.
  • Other members of the group that gone on to make their own videos and Olive went on to win second prize in a school competition.
  • Send my sister to school campaign were in contact with us and were very impressed with the project and campaigning we did.
  • At CoCamp three of our group set up our own ‘Co-op in a Box’ business venture and without adult help ran a successful business. A lot of our organisational and practical skills as well as our confidence were gained during out action fund project.
  • Some of the group has a plan to work with an elfin group in making a film and passing on the skills that we have learnt.

Finances:

The action fund project was used to fund the group’s trip down to London, to pay Bill Newsinger for some of his time in making the film and to pay for film editing training for the group.