Human rights advocate Gary Foxcroft has been given an Alumni Award at the graduation ceremonies for his work in trying to save child “witches” in Nigeria.
Born and bred in Lancaster, where he attended Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Gary took a Masters degree in Environment and Development at Lancaster University in 1997.
Visiting Nigeria to study the oil industry, he experienced first-hand the plight of abandoned street children. Back in the UK he set up projects to protect and educate these children through the charity ‘Stepping Stones’. This work has been life-changing for children in Africa and has helped shape UN policy and action on child torture and abuse.
Gary’s work has featured on television both in the UK and in Nigeria.
Stepping Stones was the subject of an influential Channel Four Dispatches documentary in 2009, which earned a BAFTA Award. The Nigerian movie industry has embraced Gary’s message of compassion and reason.
A film condemning the belief in child witches has been produced in ‘Nollywood’, Nigeria’s version of Hollywood, and screened widely across the continent.
More recently Gary has established a UK-based educational consultancy to work with governments, educators and donors around the world to provide innovative literacy programmes for children.
Gary is due to hold a talk at the university next month entitled Journeys into the World of Witchcraft, and will look at the work he has done in Nigeria, Lancaster and now around the world.