Greece’s refugee education crisis

Education is essential to help young refugee children survive the unacceptable humanitarian conditions they are forced to endure and to begin to heal and build a better future for themselves.

But without urgent funding from the international community all education for the 10,000 refugee children living on the Greek Islands will end by June 2020, and further support is needed for emergency Covid-19 education for children isolated in their refugee camps. 

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Greece’s refugee education crisis

€20 million is needed to secure education for the 10,000 refugee children living on the Greek islands for the next two years, with numbers likely to increase.

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UPDATE 16th June 2020: We have secured €1.35 million for emergency Covid-19 education support. But we urgently need another €20 million to ensure education continues after Covid-19.

Honour the pledge. Educate refugee children

Even if only for a few hours a day, these classes offer a stark contrast to their existence in overcrowded camps blighted by poor diet, sanitation, high tension and sometimes violence

Justin van Fleet, President of Theirworld

Funding for existing education programmes will run out when the Greek school year closes at the end of June. But major donors such as the European Union, the UK and Scandinavian countries are nowhere near reaching agreement on an extension. 

Theirworld’s research has concluded that €20 million is needed to keep open educational programmes operated by UNICEF and UNHCR and local aid groups for another two years. 

Closure would deprive children of badly-needed classes which give them a sense of normality and the chance to at least imagine a better future.

Theirworld is supporting appeals by UNHCR and UNICEF for $1.5 million in emergency funds to extend remote learning for refugee children whose education has almost entirely been stopped by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In our report "Finding solutions to Greece’s refugee education crisis" we set out a three point plan: 

  • Urgent financial assistance of €20 million for non-formal education on the Greek islands.
  • International support for a more comprehensive refugee education plan across Greece.
  • Greater investment in the region to tackle the refugee problem closer to home.

The last point would include fulfilling the very public pledge made in 2016 to educate every single Syrian refugee child, which would bring major improvements in Greece.

Theirworld is dedicated to providing education for refugees. We’re among the leading donors to refugee education in the Greek islands. We know that it can make a real difference to their lives. Support our campaign today.

Read our full report into the crisis

Education will not address all of the needs of extremely vulnerable refugee children and youth, but it is an essential missing component to help them survive the unacceptable humanitarian conditions they are forced to endure and to begin to heal and build a better future for themselves.

The refugee crisis in the Greek Aegean islands has reached an untenable situation which requires urgent action. Theirworld's report shows a way forward.

We invite the Greek government, UN agencies, the EU and the broader international community to adopt our three-point plan for action, and to respond to requests for immediate assistance with the response to Covid-19. 

Report

Finding solutions to Greece’s refugee education crisis

The refugee crisis in the Greek Aegean islands has reached an untenable situation which requires urgent action by the Greek authorities and the international community. This report shows a way forward.

How you can help the campaign

There are many ways that you can help the campaign from helping promote or message on social media, signing the petition and adding your name, or donating to keep our work going. 

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With your support, we can end the global education crisis and unleash the potential of the next generation.

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