‘Ev­ery child de­serves to go to school and learn’

Af­ter the loss of her baby daugh­ter, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter’s wife Sarah Brown chan­nelled her grief in the most ex­tra­or­di­nary way...

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Behind The Headlines - Sarah Brown (their­world.org) reg­u­larly in­ter­views cam­paign­ers, ac­tivists and change-mak­ers on her own pod­cast, Bet­ter An­gels With Sarah Brown

Dur­ing a re­cent meet­ing at the United Na­tions on tack­ling global poverty, I was asked the ques­tion, ‘What ex­actly is Their­world?’ When our char­ity launched 15 years ago, I might have an­swered dif­fer­ently, but I know who and what we are now. I replied, ‘We help chil­dren to un­leash their po­ten­tial to lit­er­ally un­lock their world.’

When we be­gan in 2002, I wanted some­thing pos­i­tive to come out of the loss of my daugh­ter, Jen­nifer, at just 10 days old. I was heart­bro­ken, but re­alised I still had the power to find ways for the most vul­ner­a­ble ba­bies and chil­dren to thrive.

With a bril­liant team of peo­ple who worked with me as trustees and our first staff – many of whom are still part of the char­ity to­day – we set up the Jen­nifer Brown Re­search Lab­o­ra­tory to be at the fore­front of what sci­ence could de­liver. The re­sults have been re­mark­able. One story had spe­cial res­o­nance ear­lier this year, when we found out the work had helped to save the life of Ella Mccon­nachie, the grand­daugh­ter of the late Labour Party leader John Smith.

To­day, Their­world, as the char­ity is now called, is fear­less and in­no­va­tive. It is at the fore­front of shap­ing and im­ple­ment­ing new ideas, and pi­o­neer­ing so­lu­tions to help give girls and boys around the world the best start in life. From run­ning pi­lot projects such as dou­ble-shift school­ing for Syr­ian refugees in Le­banon, to launch­ing cod­ing clubs for girls in Africa, I am proud of ev­ery­thing we do. We built the largest-ever ed­u­ca­tion pe­ti­tion of more than 10 mil­lion sig­na­tures and took it to world lead­ers. Our mes­sage was clear: ev­ery child de­serves to go to school and learn.

One of the huge ben­e­fits of my role has been meet­ing so many self­less, amaz­ing peo­ple. While in 10 Down­ing Street I brought in many char­i­ties, host­ing re­cep­tions and join­ing in thousands of good causes. So while Their­world is fairly small, though grow­ing, we have worked out how to get a big­ger job done by build­ing part­ner­ships with oth­ers.

I get in­volved with all our ma­jor projects, plan­ning and rep­re­sent­ing the char­ity, but what I find re­ally ex­cit­ing is see­ing so many bright young peo­ple – par­tic­u­larly our net­work of Global Youth Am­bas­sadors around the world – bring fresh ideas and en­ergy to our work.

It’s some­times dif­fi­cult to pause and take stock. Ev­ery child I see – whether in a refugee camp, a hos­pi­tal ward or a chil­dren’s cen­tre – makes you re­alise how im­por­tant early learn­ing and play, good health and nu­tri­tion, and the right to feel safe ac­tu­ally are. They are chil­dren. They de­serve a child­hood. One thing is cer­tain – coun­tries and global lead­ers around the world can do more than make empty prom­ises to vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren. We owe them.

‘I was bereft but I had the power to help vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren thrive’

Sarah: ‘One of the ben­e­fits of my role has been meet­ing so many self­less, amaz­ing peo­ple’

Boys and girls should have a child­hood, no mat­ter where they are the world

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.