Campaigners and school students say "Stop Bombing Civilians"
The UK's biggest grassroots campaign in support of the forgotten victims of conflict has begun. Now in its eighth year, the Forgotten 10 Challenge will see campaigners and school students holding events between 1st and 10th December to raise awareness and funds for people and communities affected by conflict in countries like Syria and Afghanistan.
A Pyramid of Shoes at a shopping centre in Chelmsford organised as part of the 2014 Forgotten 10 Challenge. | © John McGeachy/Handicap International
From Ashford in Kent to Kemnay in Aberdeenshire around 30 events are planned as part of this year's Forgotten 10 Challenge. The brilliant efforts of local groups, teachers and students will mean that thousands of people will be taking action to help protect innocent civilians from explosive weapons like rockets, cluster bombs and landmines.
Raising awareness in the community
Soroptimist International clubs, Quaker Meetings and a peace group are organising events and supporting Handicap International’s Stop Bombing Civilians petition during the campaign. 2016 marks 12 years since Handicap International first started working with Soroptimist International and whilst some clubs are taking part for the first time other clubs like Rugby Soroptimists and Tamworth Soroptimists are involved for their fourth and fifth time respectively.
At an event in Birmingham, Soroptimists from the Midland Arden region are taking 10 separate actions from collecting 10p pieces to building a Pyramid of Shoes. Darlington and Tamworth Soroptimists are both hosting displays in town centre churches and in Wales, Cardigan Quakers and Llandudno Soroptimists are organising ‘Tea at 10’ coffee mornings to raise funds.
School students take action
School students across the UK will be learning about the issues and raising awareness amongst their peers through a range of activities. At Dominican College in County Londonderry, Year 13 students are mentoring Year 9 students as they raise awareness in school and at Werneth School in Cheshire the whole school are taking part in a PSHE day focusing on the crisis in Syria.
Lots of pupils will be fundraising too. Students at Argoed High School (Flintshire) are organising a bake sale and Year 7s at Marsden Heights Community College (Lancashire) are participating in a sponsored fun run. At Calday Grange Grammar School in Merseyside 18 separate sixth form groups have been challenged to raise £30 each; if they achieve this they will have raised enough to provide 18 child amputees with new prostheses.
Stop Bombing Civilians petition
As part of the Forgotten 10 Challenge, supporters will be gathering signatures for Handicap International’s petition calling on the UK and all states to publicly commit to ending the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.
When explosive weapons are used in populated areas 92% of the victims are civilians. According to Handicap International’s report ‘Syria, a mutilated future’, people surviving explosive attacks face major trauma with potential long-term impact on their lives, with 47% of people injured by explosive weapons having complex fractures and 15% undergoing amputations. The threat to civilians does not stop at the end of a conflict - explosive remnants of war can stay active for months, even years, remaining a danger to local communities.
All the team at Handicap International UK would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone taking part in the Forgotten 10 Challenge. It’s not too late to get involved so please contact our Supporter Engagement Officer, John, via campaigns[at]hi-uk.org if you would like more information.
Local clubs and groups organising events
Soroptimist International clubs in Ashford; Darlington; East Grinstead; Glasgow City; Kidderminster; Middlesbrough; Midland Arden region; Rugby; Selby; Southend; St Helens and Tamworth. The other local groups taking part are Cardigan Quaker Meeting and South Somerset Peace Group.
Schools organising events
Arden College (Merseyside); Argoed High School (Cheshire); Calday Grange Grammar School (Merseyside); City of Birmingham School, Firsbrook Centre (Birmingham); Creative Family Solutions (Nottinghamshire); Dominican College (County Londonderry); Kemnay Academy (Aberdeenshire); Marsden Heights Community College (Lancashire); Northumberland Church of England Academy (Northumberland); Oxford Montessori School (Oxford); Werneth School (Cheshire); (Woodcote High School (Surrey); Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni (Anglesey).