Today, new financial commitments and a new youth crisis committee to help Syrian refugee children in Lebanon were announced at a press conference convened by A World at School and Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown. Education advocate Malala Yousafzai was in attendance.
NEW YORK, United States of America, 23 September 2013 – In a press conference today convened by A World at School and United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, new financial commitments and a youth mobilization committee were announced to help Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon.
“The plan involves US$175 million that we would like the world community, that is, individual donor agencies, to provide to make this happen,” said Mr. Brown. “That is, on average, only US$1 a day per child who would benefit from this programme.”
Response to an education crisis
During the press conference, at which education advocate Malala Yousafzai was in attendance, Co-founder and Executive Director of Avaaz Ricken Patel delivered US$1 million and issued a challenge to donors to provide the remaining funds needed to support education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.
Stressing the importance of education in emergencies was UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta. “Education is vital to helping children in communities in the region attain some measure of normalcy, some stability, while building resilience for the future,” she said. “So far, there are two million Syrian children who have dropped out of school.”
UNICEF will continue to scale up support to reach refugee and vulnerable populations affected by crisis. UNICEF has helped nearly 68,000 Syrian children and adolescents through a range of education activities on the ground, including formal and informal education, teacher training and psychosocial support.
“UNICEF stands ready to work closely with the Government of Lebanon, the Global Partnership for Education and all other governments and partners in the region to develop an expanded and well-coordinated response to the education crisis in the region,” said Ms. Gupta.
Youth join forces for Syrian children
In addition to funding, a new Youth Emergency Crisis Committee was announced by youth advocates in attendance, including Youth Representative on the High Level Steering Committee and Chairperson of the Youth Advocacy Panel for Education Chernor Bah and United Nations Youth Courage Award winner and Leonard Cheshire Disability Young Voices representative Ashwini Angadi.
“Today, we’re pleased to announce that a core group of us…are going to do everything we can to raise our voices for the Syrian refugee children,” said Mr. Bah, himself a former refugee from Sierra Leone. “We cannot afford another generation of Syrian children – of any country – where young people lose hope.”
For Ms. Angadi, working to ensure that Syrian children are not excluded stems from her own personal experiences as a girl with vision impairment, from a rural and poor community in India. “I was discriminated [against] because of my disability, and no schools or colleges allowed me to get education,” she said. “This situation made me to fight for disabled children, especially girls with disabilities.”
The new Committee also has the support of United Nations Special Envoy for Youth Ahmad Alhendawi.
“We understand that 57 million kids around the world are still out of school,” he said. “That’s why the Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative comes to make a clear call for everyone that this is unacceptable, and it’s time for all of us to join forces to make sure that all kids are sent back to school.”
Millennium Development Goal 2 is Achieve universal primary education. Among the key interventions necessary to ensuring that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling, is to ensure safe and protective access to quality education in humanitarian emergencies.
More information on progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal targets and remaining challenges.
Story by Daria Ng