Everyday we hear how the world has become smaller, we can travel faster, communicate quicker and watch images from across the globe in our own living rooms within minutes of them occurring. Yet while we watch those images, do we really connect to those other people, to those other lifestyles, do we really connect to the people who live next door?
Last year, young people from a school in England campaigned to allow their classmates to be allowed to remain in their school in this country. Their friends were asylum-seekers who, having overcome the problems of living in a new country and the horrors of having been forced to leave their own, were now being threatened with being sent back. The classmates who campaigned to keep them here were young people who had connected on a very personal level, but more importantly they had understood that the issues within their community were part of a wider global society. It was a manifestation of good global citizenship.
The world is a more interconnected place and young people need to know the importance of that. Not just that their chocolate originates from a foreign country but who the people are that grow the original bean and what the conditions in that society are and what impact buying or selling that cocoa bean has on them.
As an adult, I've been faced with the images of horror and suffering in this country and abroad. Nobody had discussed this in school with me, in fact, people didn't generally talk about this kind of thing at all and no one was encouraging them to do so. I decided to learn more and to try to do something about it, and it wasn't easy, not as one person on my own. When I joined Comic Relief, I felt doubly lucky to be joining an organisation that was doing something about these things, and where I could make a contribution.
Comic Relief's mission is to tackle poverty and social injustice, and for over 16 years it has been doing just that through fundraising and awareness building. The British public has shown massive support for Comic Relief's mission, giving more than pounds 228m since it was established.
But Comic Relief isn't just about the one day every couple of years that hits our televisions, it's about the long-term commitment to helping and educating people.
One of the largest groups of support for Red Nose Day has been schools. Approximately 60 per cent of schools in the UK take part, which is fantastic. That makes it one of the top charities in schools, and schools are one of its most important audiences.
Comic Relief has its own Education Department and its aim is to ensure that students and teachers who take part in Red Nose Day not only have fun and raise money, but also gain a deeper understanding of why Red Nose Day takes place and the issues that lie behind the nose. …