Having been inspired to raise awareness of the high rates of maternal mortality in developing countries following their attendance at the Global Student Forum last year, sixth form girls at St Swithun’s School, Winchester held a successful community leaders’ forum at the school earlier in the academic year and last weekend they jointly organised a weekend of events with the University of Winchester to highlight global maternal health.
Alastair Stewart OBE chaired a public forum at the university which was attended by education leaders, politicians, faith communities, the voluntary sector and the media. During the day the girls also held a number of events in the centre of Winchester to raise awareness and money for Christian Aid Sierra Leone.
Fran Ebel, age 17 from Salisbury, one of the St Swithun’s co-organisers said ‘I think we're all in agreement that the weekend's forum was incredibly powerful. The debates and discussions it provoked were inspiring and by the end of it we all felt that we had achieved our main aim: to raise awareness of the tragic, and often ignored reality of maternal mortality’.
Headmistress Jane Gandee said ‘I am proud that the girls believe that they can make a difference and that they have persevered in raising the consciousness of so many others about what has been described as one of the world's biggest health inequalities’.
The weekend concluded with the St Swithun’s evensong service on Mothering Sunday at Winchester Cathedral which remembered mothers around the world. Contributions by staff, pupils and Charlotte Page from Christian Aid helped to celebrate the occasion whilst recognizing the difficulties facing mothers in the developing world.