Dame Jacqueline Wilson and KT Tunstall are among a number of celebrities sharing childhood memories and photos in support of WaterAid’s campaign to help girls around the world complete their education.
The Thirst For Knowledge campaign is working to get clean water and toilets into schools in countries such as Nepal, to ensure children’s health and education is not threatened.
Wilson and Tunstall lead a group of famous faces backing the project, including actor Sir Tony Robinson, athlete Ellie Simmonds and TV chef Nadiya Hussain.
“I wanted to be a writer from when I was six years old,” said Wilson. “I never thought I’d be lucky enough to get one book published, let alone a hundred.
“I was a daydreamer at school, my nickname was Jacky Daydream.
“The teachers thought I should be better at maths, I was hopeless, but they all said I was good at English – it was dear Mr Townsend who encouraged me to write and was always very sweet and patient.”
Tunstall also said she was a daydreamer, but added that she enjoyed trying things out during her time at school too.
“My school reports stated ‘has potential… but easily distracted’ and they were totally accurate,” she said.
“I was definitely a daydreamer, occasionally falling on the naughty side, but I was keen to try out anything from chess to fencing to metal work. I loved all the things I was able to do.
“I had some great teachers. The head of music at the High School of Dundee was Mr Cochrane; he was always really supportive of me and my talent, he made the music room feel like a playground.
“I spent a lot of time just playing on pianos, electric keyboards and on guitars.”
WaterAid hopes their campaign provides girls in Nepal with similar memories to look back on.
The UK Government will match any donations made to the campaign, up to £2 million, by February 15.
Many girls will skip school when they are menstruating, or drop out when they reach puberty, due to a lack of basic facilities.
In the majority of homes in Nepal there is no water on site, so women and girls must collect water, giving them less time to study.
Puja, 12, goes to school in Lahan, Nepal, where the lack of clean water and basic facilities stops many girls going to school.
Puja said: “There is water, but it contains iron and it stinks. I’ve fallen ill by drinking the water at school, it generally causes stomach ache.
“When girls menstruate at school, it affects our studies as we return home.
“There should be proper management of pads, toilets and drinking water, so girls wouldn’t have to return home and miss their classes.
“We go to school to study and gain knowledge, which will help us become somebody we wish.
“Life is not possible without water, since we need water to do everything like drink, cook, clean, wash, sanitation, personal hygiene.”