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Children Helping Children

An assembly, circle time, a tutor group or citizenship session - all offer opportunities to raise the issues behind Children Helping Children, writes Ted Wragg.

You could open a session by saying: "Suppose you had no chance to go to school (loud cheers). Okay, so people often say they don't like school ('True, true'), but if no children ever went to school, what would happen?"

You can explain that there would be no doctors, engineers, scientists or teachers; no one would be able to read or write, so there would be no books, magazines, comics or internet; companies would be unable to find qualified staff, so machines would break down; society would slide into primitive squalor, ignorance and exploitation.

Next, move on to children in the world, particularly girls, who have had no chance of schooling. Take a picture of children in Afghanistan (such as the TES's Big Picture of children on a disused tank, November 30, 2001), and use it as an example of a group in which almost all the girls and probably half the boys have had no schooling. Most are desperate for education. It is a fundamental human right (discuss what those are, according to the United Nations - education, housing, freedom from torture and oppression, irrespective of race, sex, language or religion). Why have they had no education?

Describe the Children Helping Children campaign's flying kite symbol. Kites were banned by the Taliban, as were watching films, cheering during public events, playing games, education itself. How do you think the children will feel going to school for the first time?

Finally, is there anything pupils in this school can do, or can we only turn our backs? Are we citizens of the world, able to help those who need us? Who can help (an organisation like UNICEF, which raises money for books, equipment; see its "school in a box" idea at

What money is needed? For pound;5, one pupil gets stationery for a year; pound;15 buys books and charts for three teachers; pound;50 provides a school with basic textbooks and maps; pound;120 buys a classroom kit for a class of 50 for a year.

So what shall we do - and when do we start?

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University. For more teaching ideas and suggestions for fundraising activities for the appeal, visit Ideas from children or teachers can be sent to afghanappeal@ or to Ted Wragg, Children Helping Children,The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX.

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