25 students from Newquay Tretherras School were at the House of Commons on Monday the 22nd April to present a petition to their MP Stephen Gilbert.
After having formed a very successful Amnesty International youth group at Tretherras, students initially met with Mr Gilbert MP back in November 2012 to discuss their school wide campaign to raise awareness on the issue of Child soldiers. Following that successful Mr Stephen Gilbert invited the group to visit Parliament and promised to present the students petition at the House of Commons at the first opportunity.
Whilst in London the Tretherras students also visited the Amnesty headquarters to further discus there campaign and plan the next steps in their campaign.
Mr Ian Anderson, the teacher leading the group, said “For the group’s first campaign it success is remarkable. Through the hard work, passion and dedication of the students they managed to collect over 800 signatures on the petition and nearly 600 hand-written letters from the students and staff. This just goes to show that the perception in some parts of society that young people don’t care about politics and the wider world could not be more wrong.”
He continued “We have been supported a lot by Mr Gilbert who has been very generous with his time, and there is no shortage of human rights issues around the world to focus on. In the end though, it is the students who form the group that provide all the energy and motivation to campaign to raise awareness of issues that are particularly close to their hearts”.
The Child soldier’s campaign clearly struck a chord with the group. Around the world, in at least 19 different countries, between 250,000 – 300,000 children as young as 9 years old are involved in armed conflict. They are often forced to commit atrocities such as killing members of their own families and many are addicted to drugs by the groups they find themselves fighting for. For many, physically and mentally, there is no way back. All of the Tretherras students involved in the group realised they could not know about this and do nothing about it.
Reece Foster: Amnesty means a lot to me as I know what I do can affect the life of less fortunate people around the world.
Ashleigh Watson: I love Amnesty, it is a great way to help and to know that you can try to make a difference in the world
Jessica Menhenett: Amnesty has taught me a lot, it’s taught me that there are people in the world that are far less fortunate and that need help and support, and how we as a group have a chance to help and change their lives.