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Girl power for Leah at the United Nations

Leah Kelly (14), St Patrick's and St Brigid's College, Claudy, Co. Derry, who submitted a report on girl's education to the United Nations. Photo: Stephen Latimer

Leah Kelly (14), St Patrick's and St Brigid's College, Claudy, Co. Derry, who submitted a report on girl's education to the United Nations. Photo: Stephen Latimer

This is the Derry school girl whose research on education has been presented to some of the most powerful people in the world.

When Leah Kelly sat down to research the difference in the education offered to young women here compared with that offered to young women in developing countries, she never dreamed her words would make it to the desks of the UN.

The St. Patrick’s and St. Brigid’s pupil said: “I thought I would write it, and maybe it would sit on a desk somewhere.

Maybe someone carrying out some research might look at it some day but I didn’t think it would go as far as it did.”

But ‘where it went’, thanks to Leah’s aunt Sister Deirdre Mullan, the work was direct to the United Nations Headquarters in New York where it formed a basis for a workshop during the annual International Day of the Girl-Child conference.

“I couldn’t believe it when my aunt told me. I didn’t expect it to be used in that way,” Leah, who is currently choosing what to study at GCSE said.

Leah said researching the report, which she submitted to the Partnership for Global Education, was really eye opening and allowed her to see just how privileged she was to have a full education available to her.

“I was shocked by some of the things I learned,” she said. “We have 100% uptake of education here but even in this country some young women may be pressured to leave education before 16 because of their race and traditions.

“In countries such as Africa, young women simply aren’t the priority for education. The money isn’t there so the education rates among girls and young women remain very low.”

 

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