“All kids should be given the opportunity to decide for themselves about their own lives.”
Seventh grade student, Grönkullaskolan, Sweden
Swedish students started meeting their government representatives last week to discuss the 100 Million campaign and work out what they can do to ensure the freedom, safety, and education of the world’s most marginalised children. For these students, the fight for children’s rights begins at home: around 100,000 children have arrived in Sweden as refugees since 2015, and the Swedish 100 Million campaign aims to draw attention to those who are still waiting for their right to quality, inclusive education. At the same time, they are putting on the table the broader crisis facing children around the world – children who are trapped in child labour, children who are still fleeing from conflict or disaster, and children whose right to education is being denied.
On Friday the campaign kicked off, with six politicians going ‘Back to School’- some even returning to the schools at which they had studied.
Social Democrat MP Sara Heikkinen-Breitholtz returned to her former school, Smedingeskolan, and engaged in a discussion with students about equality and children’s rights. After the event, she stated: “I believe that the political debate about both human rights and the development of Sweden – and why the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is so important – needs to increase, not decrease.”
Other politicians taking part on Friday included Gustav Fridolin, spokesperson for the Green Party; Social Democrats Lawen Redar and Aylin Fazelian; Noria Manouchi of the Moderate Party; and Kerstin Lundgren of the Centre Party. More schools and politicians are taking part in the campaign throughout April.
The campaign in Sweden is run by a coalition of youth activists, teachers’ unions, and NGOs: Sveriges Elevkårer, Sveriges Elevråd, Bris, Lärarförbundet and Lärarnas Riksförbund. Working under the 100 Million Sweden banner, the campaign has also gained media coverage in Aftonbladet, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers, with a piece signed by the leaders of each organisation and 100 Million co-founder Kailash Satyarthi.