International charity and educational partner Free The Children, with support of lead sponsors Virgin Atlantic and Barclays, is set to bring its leading youth event, We Day, and year-long educational programme, We Act, to the UK for the first time on Friday 7th March 2014 at Wembley Arena with Brit award-winning songstress Ellie Goulding set to take the stage.
Joining Ellie will be former U.S Vice President Al Gore, co-founder of the Malala Fund, Malala Yousafzai, multi-award winning actor Clive Owen, Paralympian Martine Wright and CEO and Founder of SBTV Jamal Edwards and Sir Richard Branson are among the first announced world-renowned leaders and A-list entertainers set to take the stage at We Day UK.
The speakers and performers will lead the stadium event of 12,000 students, teachers and supporters from over 400 schools through a full day of educational speeches, inspirational moments and show-stopping performances.
We Day is taking the philanthropic world by storm. Organized by Free The Children, We Day is now going global, with events in the United States, Canada and the UK. Over 160,000 youth this year alone will come together in stadium gatherings to take part in an unprecedented educational initiative which inspires students to get involved in positive social change.
Students cannot buy a ticket to the event; they have to earn it through making a commitment to undertake at least one local and one global charitable act of their choice as part of the year-long We Act programme. By registering for We Act, students and teachers receive free educational resources, student-led campaign ideas and materials to support them on their mission to make a difference. Together We Day and We Act provide a plan to raise a generation of active global citizens, this time in the UK.
We Day UK will be co-chaired by Free The Children ambassador Holly Branson and Lord Rumi Verjee. The aim is to unite young people and celebrate the difference they are making through their local and global actions. By bringing together pop icons, celebrities and some of the most influential leaders of our time, We Day provides a platform for speakers and performers to address pressing world issues and ignite students’ passion to be a part of the solution.
To launch the event and year-long initiative in the UK, today Holly Branson and Lord Rumi Verjee will join co-founder Craig Kielburger and 480 students at Paddington Academy. The representatives aim to show their commitment to making We Day and We Act available to all students from Year 6 and above across the country. Paddington Academy’s students will be surprised by a special appearance from this year’s X Factor contestant Sam Callahan, who is taking time away from touring the country to show his support for the charity.
Craig Kielburger, who co-founded Free The Children with his brother Marc in 1995 when he was 12 years old, said: “When I was young and wanted to make a difference in the world, there wasn’t much out there to support my dreams. I was told I was too young to make a difference. That’s what We Day provides young people today – a platform to learn about local and global issues, take action and celebrate the meaningful contribution they’re making to better our world. We are absolutely thrilled to bring We Day to the UK for the first time and hope with the help of students across the country we can continue to make positive change locally in the UK and globally.”
The impact of We Day events is far reaching – since 2007 young people who attended We Day and committed to We Act have raised $37 million for more than 1000 local and global causes and logged 9.6 million volunteer hours. Past speakers and performers of We Day have included; Sir Richard Branson, Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Magic Johnson, Martin Sheen, Queen Noor of Jordan, Jennifer Hudson, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, cast members from Glee, among many others. We Day is the world’s largest registered charity on Facebook with 3.6 million followers.
We Day and the We Act programme are free of charge to the thousands of students and teachers in attendance at the event and across the country, thanks to the generous support of sponsors led in the UK by sponsors Virgin Atlantic and Barclays.
Craig Kreeger Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic said: ‘We are delighted to be supporting the first ever We Day to take place in the UK. Since launching in North America the initiative has achieved remarkable social impacts across the world and we hope children across the UK are encouraged to get involved – together they really can make a difference.’
Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking from Barclays said: ‘It is with great pleasure to be supporting Free The Children in launching their social change event, We Day, and educational programme, We Act, for the very first time in the UK. We hope and encourage both schools and children across the country to get involved with this brilliant initiative. Barclays is supporting We Day UK because we believe through collective action we can help young people to succeed. Our LifeSkills programme aims to help one million young people in the UK in making the transition from education to employment.’