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BBC News Interactive School ReportBBC News Interactive School Report
Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 17:51 GMT
Pupils press ministers on Darfur
Children from Darfur
More than 2.5 million people have fled their homes in Darfur
Youngsters aiming to "make a difference" have been pressing the government to do more to help stop the violence in Sudan's region of Darfur.

Students at Wolstanton High School in Newcastle under Lyme organised a letter-writing campaign after learning about the problems in Darfur during the school's Holocaust fortnight.

"This got us thinking, and many of the students approached the head of humanities John Johnson to talk about what we could do," says 13-year-old Lucy.

The initiative, which included a trip by students to Westminster, was filmed as part of the school's BBC News Report.

Petition pressure

Some 400 children wrote letters to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, with many including suggestions about what could be done to help the situation.

Lucy says she would like to see a charity set up to help women in the refugee camps in southern Sudan, who are being attacked when they leave the camps to collect firewood.

If you can tell the people who brought the petition to Downing Street that we are determined to do more to try and help the poor people of Darfur
Gordon Brown

Another student pressed the government to send a mediator to Sudan to talk to the two sides.

Mr Brown said that more needed to be done to help protect the people of Darfur.

"This is happening now and we've really got to do more about it.

"That's why we need a ceasefire and talks between all the people that have been fighting, the UN forces on the ground and we need help for people who are needing support for homes and food and shelter at the moment.

"If you can tell the people who brought the petition to Downing Street that we are determined to do more to try and help the poor people of Darfur."

Eye-opener

Twenty students were then chosen to travel to London to deliver their letters to the Prime Minister's home in Downing Street.

They were accompanied by local MP Paul Farrelly, who has strong connections with the school.

The trip was filmed by a team from BBC West Midlands.

In an interview with Lucy, Mr Farrelly praised the initiative taken by the students.

Lucy says the experience has been a real eye-opener and that it was important for young people to find out about what was happening in the world.

"We felt we were really making a difference," she says. "We were standing up and being counted."





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