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Top girls' schools to hear child marriage work

Press Release   •   Nov 22, 2011 12:46 GMT

A LEADING child rights campaigner is to address heads from the country’s top girls’ schools at a Bristol conference tomorrow (23). 

Marie Staunton, chief executive of children’s charity Plan UK, will speak to the Girls’ Schools Association annual conference. 

The GSA chose Plan UK as its charity of the year and its president Dr Helen Wright recently returned from a trip to Bangladesh to see efforts to tackle child marriage. 

“Our work around the world has shown us that early and forced marriage is one of the biggest barriers to girls’ education,” says Ms Staunton. 

“Girls married young are far more likely to drop out of school, get pregnant and face serious health consequences as a result. 

“They’re also far more likely to face abuse and to never pursue a career.

“We’re delighted to have been chosen as the GSA’s charity of the year and hope they’ll join us in the fight against one of the greatest injustices of our age.” 

Plan’s Because I am a Girl Campaign focuses on the 75 million girls out of school worldwide.

The Girls’ Schools Association, chaired by renowned educationalist Dr Helen Wright, is backing the movement. 

Schooling is proven to dramatically improve the life of girls in developing countries.  

Educated girls are more likely to be healthy and survive into adulthood. They are less likely to marry and have children early.   

The Girls’ School Association represents the head teachers of leading independent schools in the UK. 

The three-day annual conference at Bristol City Centre Marriott Hotel will welcome 200 delegates and feature speakers including schools minister Nick Gibb. 

“The lives of UK women have changed immeasurably in recent generations,” says Dr Wright, of GSA’s partnership with Plan UK. 

“It is just as important for us to encourage the girls in its schools to help fellow women and girls in less fortunate circumstances, as it is to educate and provide them with the tools and self-confidence to aim high.” 

For more information on Plan call 0300 777 9777 or visit

Notes to editors

1) Plan is a global children’s charity. We work with children in the world’s poorest countries to help them build a better future. A future you would want for all children, your family and friends. For over 70 years we’ve been taking action and standing up for every child’s right to fulfil their potential by:

  • giving children a healthy start in life, including access to safe drinking water
  • securing the education of girls and boys
  • working with communities to prepare for and survive disasters
  • inspiring children to take a lead in decisions that affect their lives
  • enabling families to earn a living and plan for their children’s future.

We do what’s needed, where it’s needed most. We do what you would do. With your support children, families and entire communities have the power to move themselves from a life of poverty to a future with opportunity.

2) We work with children in 48 of the world’s poorest countries to help them build a better future.

3) Plan was founded by British journalist John Langdon-Davies in 1937 to rescue orphans and other vulnerable children from the Spanish Civil War.

 4) We have over 114,000 sponsors in the UK, generating £25 million a year, and 1.5 million sponsored children worldwide.

 5) Sponsorship starts at £15-a-month and, rather than going to individual children and their families, funds projects to improve schooling, health, nutrition and livelihoods across communities. 

6) Plan UK’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) is a group of young people aged 13-18 who offer Plan an invaluable youth perspective. YAP puts young people’s voices at the heart of Plan’s work, because they have ideas, experience and, needless to say, know more about childhood than adults. Their input can help Plan to understand how to work with the young people whose lives it aims to improve.

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