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Last Updated: Friday February 04 2005 13:23 GMT

I met Nelson Mandela

Lauren at Trafalgar Square
Twenty thousand people filled London's Trafalgar Square on Thursday for the Make Poverty History campaign rally.

Lauren tells us why she was there and what it was like meeting the former South African president, Nelson Mandela.

"I was asked to come down to London for the rally by charity Save the Children, who work with my school.

I was quite excited because I've never been to London before so I was looking forward to seeing Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.

Making a difference

At Trafalgar Square I made a speech about how everyone can make a difference to make poverty history - by cancelling debts poorer countries have.

The campaign is important because it shows that it's not just world leaders who can do it - everyone can, even if it's in just a small way.

Lauren and her classmates wear the white poverty arm band
Lauren and her classmates wear the white poverty arm band
For example, you can give money to charities that can help poorer countries.

I was excited and nervous before I spoke in front of that many people, but once I was on stage it was as if I was speaking to one person.

Honour

It felt great to see so many people there because it meant that a lot of people were interested in helping.

It was an honour meeting Nelson Mandela. I gave him a Quaich - which is a Scottish cup of welcome - and then told him about it.

Mr Mandela was very nice and said hello, shook our hands and thanked us for coming.

The one message I'd like to get across to people is that everyone can be part of the Make Poverty History campaign, and we should all do something to help.

Lauren, 13, Glasgow

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