Pupils from Park School in Copenhagen with the Reading Rocket. - Photo: William Vest-Lillesøe

Once again this year, the Education for All Campaign was a great success, which stirred the interest of 175,000 Danish pupils in the plight of the world’s poorest children

In spring, two out of three regular Danish schools had Oxfam IBIS’ Reading Rocket on the timetable. 175,904 children held the book in their hands, and 8,497 teachers used the material in their teaching.

Pupils from Vedbæk love to help hut

Zana Holsey Gramkov, Teacher at Vedbæk School, where everyone from class 0 to grade 5 has used the Reading Rocket and collected money for Burkina Faso.

Why is your school taking part?

”The Reading Rocket and the film that goes with it are great. You really know how to convey the happiness and playfulness that also exist among children in poor countries, so it’s not all about the misery, making it something our pupils can relate to. It provides the children with a global perspective which is otherwise easily left out. And then the teaching materials are nothing less than amazing for us teachers to work with!”

Why are you helping to collect money?

“We’ve discovered that the children take instinctive pleasure in helping out. They just go wild when they hear that they can help children in other countries go to school by baking buns or selling lottery tickets. And they throw themselves into it with heart and soul. This is a good character trait to develop in them. They learn to ask what they can give others, rather than just caring about what they may gain from doing things.”

These are the impressive figures that sum up the completion of this year’s Whole World in School campaign. And it is a pass mark, if we ask campaign coordinator Heidi Brehm.

“The teachers’ feedback is that the Reading Rocket is an integral part of their annual study plan. It contributes to making our citizens of the future interested in global affairs,” she points out.

Oxfam IBIS has published the Reading Rocket every year since 2004. The book is a blend of fictional stories and portraits of children in developing countries. This year it was about Burkina Faso. It is a part of the Danish Whole World in School campaign, which is in turn a part of Global Campaign for Education.

Almost a million for Burkina Faso

After learning about Burkina Faso, 623 classes collected money for education in the country. Most pupils sold lottery tickets, but some came up with other fun types of fundraising, such as playing musical chairs in the senior citizens’ club or selling poetry compilations. In total the children raised 957,245 Danish kroner (about € 128,500), which is the highest amount for many years.

“That’s a lot of money! We’ve worked out that it costs 400 Danish kroner to send one child in Burkina Faso to school for one year, so close to one million can really do a lot,” says fundraiser Bertil Suadicani from Oxfam IBIS.

The money helps send a lot of children to school, while teachers have their qualifications upgraded, parents get involved, and schools receive new materials. Thus, the Danish schoolchildren have helped their peers in Burkina Faso get a good education that is supported by their community.

Pressure on the Prime Minister

On 4 May 2016, 800 Danish pupils showed up on Christiansborg Square in front of the Danish parliament for the Whole World in School Day of Action. The aim was to put pressure on Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, convincing him to work towards sending all the world’s children to school.

For the fourth year, the Danish prime minister came out to take part in the Day of Action. Here he was able to see with his own eyes how committed Danish children are to the cause. And in his speech, he promised he would work for it too.

“Thanks to the massive support from Danish schoolchildren, we can now hold the prime minister to account for his promise,” says campaign coordinator Heidi Brehm.