Rewrite the Future

Our Rewrite the Future campaign (2006 - 2010) helped millions of children in war-torn countries to a better future. We're still committed to reaching our target of getting 3 million children in countries in crisis into school.

Children’s right to a decent education is as basic as their right to food and water – for many, it’s their route out of poverty. It gives them the knowledge and skills to improve their own chances in life and, ultimately, the lives of their own children.

Yet one child in three is out of school in countries affected by conflict. 

That’s why we set ourselves the goal of getting millions more children into school in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

Rewrite the Future was our campaign from 2006-10 to help children in conflict-affected and fragile states to go to school. Our goals:

  • get 3 million more children into school
  • improve the quality of education for 8 million children.

Getting children into school and delivering good-quality education in war-torn countries is a huge challenge. Teachers may not have been trained and schools are increasingly being targeted for attack.

Education funding is shockingly inadequate – in 2008, $1 billion education aid was pledged to countries affected by conflict – just one-tenth of what was needed. Only $113 actually reached them.

Given all this, many people said it was just too complicated to improve the situation in countries affected by conflict. We’ve proved them wrong.

Top marks

Thanks to your support, our Rewrite the Future campaign has had some impressive successes:

  • Over the last five years, we got 1.6 million more children into school in conflict-affected countries. That’s the equivalent of opening two schools every day for three years.
  • We smashed our second target by improving the quality of education for 10 million more children. We’ve shown it’s possible to give children a good basic education even in the toughest situations.

We're still committed to the goals of Rewrite the Future. We’ll keep going until we reach our target of getting 3 million children into school. 

Now others are stepping up. The UK government, as well as the Dutch and Spanish governments, have committed to increase the money they give to education in conflict-affected countries. Read this blog on how we set about influencing the UK government’s attitude to education in developing countries.

And in 2009 luxury Italian jeweller Bulgari raised more than €6 million for Rewrite the Future. Meanwhile, in Uganda, we’re improving access to a good education for more than 14,000 children, including 3,400 who were not in school in the previous year, thanks to a £500,000 donation from fashion retailers TJX Europe and Comic Relief.

What we’re doing

  • In Southern Sudan we introduced accelerated learning classes for former child soldiers to help them catch up on the years of missed education because of the conflict.
  • In Nepal, when schools were being targeted by armed political groups and often had to be closed as a result, we introduced an initiative with local communities and political groups to promote schools as ‘zones of peace’. In the words of one teacher, it “helped make our schools free from fear”.
  • In Côte d’Ivoire, where schools have been destroyed during conflict, we’ve set up temporary education centres for thousands of children.
  • In Afghanistan we set up local child protection committees that have resulted in a rise in school attendance, particularly of girls.