The other day, I read an article on twitter about a young girl from Scotland who had been photographing and rating her lunches on a blog she started a couple of months ago.  From what I read in her posts, it was started to bring awareness to the types of lunches they were being served at school.  In one post, blog author Veg, says that "the good thing about this blog is Dad understands why I am hungry when I get home."  When I discovered her blog, it was because she had just been banned by Argyll and Bute Council, a constituency of the Scottish Parliament, from posting anymore photos because she was "only [representing] a fraction of the choices available to pupils, so a decision [was] made by the council to stop photos being taken in the school canteen", a quote taken from their website by the media.  Later that day, they retracted their statement and Councillor Roddy McCuish, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, stated that "there is no place for censorship in this Council and never will be whilst I am leader" (Statement on School Meals).

There are many things I find amazing about this story.  I will highlight a few for you here.

The first is how much support this 9-year-old girl has garnered.  Jamie Oliver, a celebrity chef and food activist trying to improve the nutrition offered in England's schools and starter of a food revolution around the globe, stumbled upon Veg's blog and sent a shout-out to her dad on twitter to show his support.
Picture
Screen shot taken from www.twitter.com/#!/jamieoliver
This was only after her third post, and over 100,000 people had stopped by her blog.  A few weeks later, her counter rolled over 1,000,000 views!  The second amazing thing about this story is that when her blog began receiving such incredible support and attention, she decided to use her popularity to continue raising funds for Mary's Meals, an international movement that sets up school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.  This is an excerpt from one of her blogs, explaining her mission:

        "There have been some comments on the blog saying I am lucky even to get a meal at lunch. You are right.
        That's why my friends and I set up Charity Children to raise money for Mary's Meals. We planted plants and
        decorated their pots. We made cards, felted soaps, necklaces and friendship bracelets. We sold these at
        school and raised £70. I was given £50 by a magazine that wanted to print my pictures so I decided to give it
        all to Mary's Meals"

This is an action project that would make any teacher proud, made even more special because it was orchestrated by children out of the goodness of their hearts.  When the ruling came out that Veg would no longer be able to continue her blog, she was devastated.  And not so much for herself, but that she wouldn't be able to raise enough funds for a new kitchen for Mary's Meals - the cost of which is about £7,000.  On June 14, the day her blog was shut down, she had raised just about £2,000.  When I checked her total this evening, just three days later, it was £81,992.70.  If you want to support Veg's mission, you can donate here.

If you look at the counter widget at the bottom of her blog, you can literally watch it tick.  She is at over 5,000,000 visitors, receives hundreds of comments per entry and tons of fan-mail, including pictures of lunches from around the world, which she started adding to her pages.  The third thing that amazed me about this story was the way people began rallying for justice on her behalf when the story broke about the ban.  She was in a time of need, feeling hopeless about the decision that had just been passed, and her entourage came together to show their support, including Jamie Oliver who tweeted for help from his followers: 
Picture
Screen shot taken from www.twitter.com/#!/jamieoliver
I think this young girl is a true inspiration and a beautiful example of the power of technology.  There has never been a time when news and information have been able to travel as fast as they do today.  I hope that people everywhere read her story and feel encouraged to take their own action for the better.

What would your action project be?
 


Comments




Leave a Reply