40 events around the UK to support the forgotten victims of conflict
This December, UK school students and campaigners from Cornwall to the Highlands raised their voices for the victims of conflict in countries like Syria, as part of the Forgotten 10 Challenge. Students raised awareness among their peers, Pyramids of Shoes were built, Tea at 10 coffee mornings took place, and lots of support was gathered for the Stop Explosive Weapons petition.
Tamworth Soroptimists outside St. Editha’s Church where they built a Pyramid of Shoes on a windy Friday morning. | © John McGeachy / Handicap International
Taking action in schools
After learning in class about the impact of explosive weapons on civilians, students decided to get more involved by organising campaign stalls and bake sales during lunch to raise funds to support Handicap International’s work clearing unexploded weapons, providing rehabilitation to the victims, and preventing more accidents.
Geography students at Failsworth School in Greater Manchester wrote to their local MP, while members of the Positive Voices group at Marsden Heights Community College were among those selling cakes and other items to raise funds. Many schools did activities based around the ‘Syria’s Young Survivors’ poster display and John from Handicap International gave talks at schools in Gloucestershire, London and North Yorkshire.
Thanks to the creativity and hard work of students involved with the Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service programme, this year saw the first Christmas Tree of Shoes! The tree, which was decorated with hand painted shoes representing people that had lost a life or a limb to an explosive weapon, was displayed at the Stroud Christmas Tree Festival. The Tree is now on display at Cheltenham’s Wilson Museum and the students involved have also been making and selling Christmas cards for Handicap International.
Public events across the UK
Local groups organised a range of fantastic public events as part of this year’s campaign. On a windy Friday morning Soroptimists in Tamworth built their own Pyramid of Shoes outside St. Editha’s Church and Burnley and Darlington Soroptimists were among those raising funds with Tea at 10 coffee mornings. Crieff, Chelmsford and Selby Soroptimists as well as Brighton Quaker Meeting all organised displays using the Syria’s Young Survivors posters.
Stop Explosive Weapons
In Rugby the Mayor joined local Soroptimists as they collected signatures in the town centre for the Stop Explosive Weapons petition. The petition calls on the UK and states worldwide to publicly commit to ending the use of explosive weapons in towns and cities. People have signed the petition at Forgotten 10 Challenge events around the UK and more than 18,000 people have signed online. Please add your voice at www.stopexplosiveweapons.org.uk
John, Tom, Calypso and all the team would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the students, teachers, Soroptimists and other campaigners that have made the Forgotten 10 Challnge such a success this year.