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British teenagers praised for their commitment to developing world

The commitment of schools and young people to help affect positive change around the world has been praised by the organiser of a major charity event.

Thousands of teenagers are set to attend the second annual We Day celebration having earned their tickets by taking action to help at least one local and one international project.

A host of celebrities and musicians will appear at the event for 12,000 teenage volunteers from 550 schools.

Hollywood A-lister Martin Sheen, who played President Barlett in The West Wing, will be speaking at the celebration at Wembley Arena on March 5, alongside Kweku Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela; former child soldier Emmanuel Jal; and teenage singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes.

Craig Kielburger, the co-founder of We Day, said: “Every region is a little bit different in their causes and interests. In the UK there seems to be a great commitment to development in Africa. There is a great interest in global affairs and this is a wonderful thing.”

Mr Kielburger began Free the Children when he was a 12-year-old schoolboy in Canada. He founded the organisation with his brother Marc, after reading the story of a Pakistani child labourer who was killed for speaking out for children’s rights.

We Day is a way for schools to celebrate the work their students are doing to affect social change. It is free to attend, but pupils and teachers earn their way by committing to take action.

Speakers and performers at the first We Day in the UK last year included Malala Yousafzai, Prince Harry, Sir Richard Branson, Ellie Goulding and Dizzee Rascal.

Mr Kielburger said: “Our first year in the UK last year we approached with excitement and nervousness. This was something that worked well in Canada and America but we always shape the event to be unique to that country and this would be a British show, with British talent.

“Now the second year’s show is approaching and after the incredible response of schools working to earn their way to the celebration, we are not nervous just purely excited.”

For more information, visit the We Day website.

Related stories:

Martin Sheen: children should become social activists and change the world – 18 February, 2015

Malala announces day of silence to raise awareness of children’s rights – 7 March, 2014

Ellie Goulding, Malala Yousafzai and Al Gore to headline youth empowerment day – 22 January, 2014

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