Back in 2010, we entered into our partnership with international charity and education partner Free The Children, the world's largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million youth involved in innovative education and development programmes in 45 countries. This was the first time the Virgin Atlantic Foundation had chosen to work with a charity over a long term period who supported our goals of sustainable, long term change in the destinations we fly to. Our initial partnership was for three years, but it was even more successful than we'd hoped. For that reason, in 2012 the Foundation extended the partnership for a further three years.
"I’m so proud of the partnership Virgin Atlantic has with the amazing Free The Children," said Richard Branson. "I have visited their international development projects and they are remarkable. Their UK schools-based programme is also a pioneering initiative where they are providing young people with skills to become social and environmental entrepreneurs.”
Our association with Free The Children goes beyond cash donations; it allows our staff and passengers to learn more about how some of the big global challenges are impacting people in our destinations. It also allows our staff to get involved in volunteering projects in the UK and in our destinations – such as our adopted villages in China, India and Kenya – to support a more sustainable future for these communities.
So what is We Day?
We Day is an educational event for a movement of young people determined to lead local and global change. You can't buy a ticket to We Day, you earn it through service and action as part of the year long We Act programme, where schools and groups take on one local and one global action and report back to Free The Children to earn their way to the day itself.
We Day UK brings together young people from across the country to lead global change, resist apathy and celebrate the progress they're making in their local and global communities. Today's event at Wembley is the first in the UK and features a stellar line-up of speakers and performers including Prince Harry, Al Gore, Malala Yousafzai, Richard, Holly and Sam Branson, Ellie Goulding, Dizzee Rascal and Gary Neville. As a headline sponsor, Virgin Atlantic will be at the event all day, and we'll be updating this post with all the latest news, views, and inspiration from on stage and off. Stay tuned for more of the day's events, but in the meantime take a look at the clip below for more of an insight into our work with Free The Children.
Live from We Day at Wembley
9.30am and We Day UK is ready to roll
10.15am: Lots of tweets from We Day UK's upcoming speakers and performers
10:30am and former U.S Vice President Al Gore has inspired the crowds
'When you have strong sense of what's right and wrong, don't let anybody talk you out of it' - Al Gore on stage at #WeDay— Mumsnet Blog Network (@MumsnetBloggers) March 7, 2014
11am: Holly Branson interviews her father Richard Branson and the crowds get down to the We Day dance
Feeling blown away and inspired. The energy on #weday is incredible— sambranson (@sambranson) March 7, 2014
11:40am Prince Harry takes to the stage
'Some people think that doing good isn't cool... I think it's the coolest thing in the world!' Well said Prince Harry pic.twitter.com/dSGtv8YsYU— sambranson (@sambranson) March 7, 2014
11:50am: Malala Yousafzai receives a rapturous welcome from the crowd
"Economically I was born in a poor family, but ethically, it was rich." -Malala @malalafund— We Day (@weday) March 7, 2014
"The powerful weapon you have is your voice." -Malala @malalafund— We Day (@weday) March 7, 2014
"Your courage should be more than your fear." -Malala @malalafund— We Day (@weday) March 7, 2014
1.00pm: We Day returns from lunch with music from Jennifer Hudson
1.30pm: Here's what people around the country have to say about We Day UK
2.20pm Free The Children founders Craig and Marc Kielburger inspire the We Day crowds
2.30pm We Day UK wraps up with a performance from Ellie Goulding
2.50pm It's the end of We Day UK 2014: Let's finish up with a picture of our brilliant Virgin Atlantic We Day volunteers
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.