I was part of a recent humanitarian mission that delivered emergency assistance to children and families in six hard-to-reach villages in northwestern Aleppo governorate. For some families living in this remote area near the Turkish border, it had been almost two years since they had received humanitarian supplies...
The news is terrible from Iraq right now, but it was in 2009 that things got very bad for me and my family. First, my dad was kidnapped, then the same thing happened to one of my brothers, who was also tortured. They were released - though my brother was kept in captivity for 53 days. They threw him out into the street and left him like a dog to find his own way home. We were forced to move to a different area of Baghdad.
As we consider the sorry state of international aid to education we must also remember that accessing school is also only part of the challenge; universal primary education goes beyond simply children enrolling in school - it also involves enabling them to complete their education and, as a result, acquire basic skills and knowledge...
Anyone look back at your tween and teen years and reminisce about how incredibly awkward and uncomfortable you felt in your own skin? Anyone, in conjunction, also realize that those quirks you felt so odd about back then have actually made you the unique person you are today? Anyone think how sad it was that you wasted all that time and energy worrying about what others thought about you? Well...I sure as hell do.
White working class underachievement is not simply about individual families. We must recognise the marginalisation that many communities are experiencing. Until we do this, the cycle of underachievement will continue; most importantly, the blame-game will not help the very children who we want to support to succeed.
So we feel that providing a way of linking the talent around us within the local community with the experience and opportunities that both large and small companies can offer is extremely important. That's why we are supporting Connecting Tech City and why we think initiatives like these are vital if we are to nurture the skills base companies like ours will need to prosper and grow.
Despite superficially positive figures regarding unemployment coming out in the past few months, let's be clear, there is a massive employment crisis in the United Kingdom. We have unemployment at 6.8%, with a further 500,000 people in work being underemployed and a shocking 2% of the workforce on zero hours contracts with no certain earnings from week to week. This is not a stable situation for the nation, for working people or for the economy.