Chiswick Student Gets ‘Shock’ Email from Obama

US President replies directly to address issue of African child soldiers

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Last May Chiswick School student Shukri Ahmed, aged 16, wrote to the President of the United States of America - Barack Obama in a bid to address the issue of child soldiers in Kenya.

Shukri decided to pick the issue of child soldiers in Africa as part of her GCSE Controlled Assessment in Citizenship in which she is already on course for an A. The Controlled Assessment requires students to select a project of their choice, in which they have to show they are taking action to raise awareness.

Shukri feels strongly about this issue and said in a message to the President, "it's really important for people to know about issues that are happening around the world, especially for an issue as big as child soldiers which isn't covered as widely as other problems around the world by the media."

Incredibly, last month Shukri received an 'out of the blue' e-mail from The White House in Washington D.C.

“I never thought I would get a response from Barack Obama, I was so shocked when I saw the email and his signature but felt really excited that I finally got it” said Shukri.

In response to her letter, President Obama acknowledged her as a ''friend'' and thanked her for taking the time to write to him about an issue that is linked to American foreign policy. The President expressed his concern for the safety of the children in Africa.

Using examples of the measures in place to care for the children in Iraq after ‘’more than a decade of sacrifice’’ and now Afghanistan, Mr Obama wrote to Shukri, "America will remain committed to governments that reflect the will of their people. I have an unyielding belief that all people share some basic aspirations: to support our families, to maintain the freedom to choose our leaders, to worship as we please, and to live in peace and security. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights — and we will support them everywhere. I know the challenges faced by the international community can be met if we commit ourselves to a sustained effort to secure the universal human rights of freedom and dignity for all our children."

When asked why she decided to contact President Obama, she replied “He is the most powerful man in the world, how could I not?”

March 12, 2013