It's time to celebrate, as this August it's WORLDwrite's 21st Birthday! We hope you'll help with a birthday gift. Here's a little history to explain why it’s worth it.
WORLDwrite was officially born in 1994, inspired by young participants who had taken part in European anti-racist & anti-militarist tours from the UN to Buchenwald. Questioning sacred cows along the way - from overpopulation to immigration controls - they learned much from extraordinary figures, such as the ‘Eidleweiss Piraten’: the youngsters who stood up against Hitler Youth in Germany.
The name WORLDwrite was taken from a ‘No More Hiroshimas’ penpal campaign, to mark the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but refashioned to fit more ambitious plans. In 1995 a group of young people embarked on an exchange with Hiroshima to investigate, and then challenge, the racial thinking which had justified the extermination of over 200,000 people. In the following years, ground-breaking two-way youth exchanges with Europe, Ghana, Brazil, India, Uganda and more put WORLDwrite’s 'people first' approach on the map, and informed the charity’s slogan, ‘Ferraris For All.’
Each WORLDwrite venture raised debate in hundreds of schools, and inspired the charity to evolve from practical exchange programmes to film-based reports and projects. Ten unique documentaries have made their mark on modern misanthropy, from Where Do People Fit In? filmed across the Amazon; to the 2005 Pricking the Missionary Position series, which included ‘A Letter to Geldof’ and ‘I’m a Subsistence Farmer, Get Me Out of Here’, culminating with Flush it!, expressing aspirations for the best toilets globally.
Never settling for the supposed wisdom of the day, the charity's pioneering young volunteers made many breakthroughs. In 1997, the charity took the first computers to rural villages in Ghana themselves when the National lottery fund refused to support a shipment, as computers were not considered 'basic needs'. WORLDwrite fought the Home Office to bring what had been declared 'inappropriate people' into Britain from Ghana, and won. The charity invaded the UNDP to challenge its new-found concern for 'reproductive health' (i.e. population control with a face lift), causing much-needed uproar. It also launched Time to Ditch the Sustainababble, and its own WSSD summit for serious development in 2002 - a time when the limiting policies of sustainability were less well known.
In 2008 the charity’s pioneering Citizen TV project WORLDbytes - a school of thought and a practical school - was born. With over 2500 trained in camera work and 1000 programmes later, it is constantly looking behind the headlines, and flourishes today.
In 2011 our first historical documentary, Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is Possible won accolades for accurately reflecting this lesser-known heroine’s political vision, and is still being screened. The works of Trinidad-born revolutionary C.L.R. James inform our latest major documentary venture, which aims to inspire a love of reading, history-making and humanity.
Over the years, thousands of young people and volunteers have made a project which many thought impossible - too ‘out there’, too political, too critical and un-fundable - and have creatively challenged views and opened minds along the way. One fact has marked much of WORLDwrite's history: whenever people said it could not or should not be said or done, WORLDwrite's inimitable volunteers most certainly did it. WORLDwrite’s 21st birthday is certainly worth celebrating, and we hope you’ll celebrate with us by chipping in too.