30 major companies join campaign to get one million Syrian refugees into school

Children in conflicts, Education in emergencies

Syrian refugee children go to school in Saida, Lebanon

Thirty major companies have joined the campaign to get one million Syrian refugee children into school in neighbouring countries.

The businesses – including Crescent Petroleum, Haykal Group, ITWORX Education, Parthenon-EY and NRS International – are backing a detailed plan of action drawn up in consultation with the governments of Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.

A World at School last week launched the Hope for Syrian Children petition to give people the opportunity to ask world leaders to support the plan to help one million Syrian children into education.

In early February, our campaign will be presented to a gathering of world leaders, NGOs and civil society at at the Syria Donor Conference in London, hosted by the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the United Nations.

The involvement of the 30 companies was discussed at a meeting of the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) in the United Arab Emirates yesterday, also attended by United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown and hosted by Legatum Limited.

Learn more about the GBC-Education meeting

GBC-Education – which brings the business community together to accelerate progress in delivering quality education and learning for all of the world’s children and youth – has agreed to campaign to raise a portion of the funds needed to educate the one million Syrian girls and boys.

A “double shift” system – where Syrian refugees are educated in a second shift in existing schools – has been successfully implemented in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.

The detailed plans show how to scale up education for Syrian child refugees but there is still a shortage of funding, leaving children at risk of child labour, early marriage and exploitation.

UN education envoy Gordon Brown talks to refugee children at a classroom in Lebanon

The businesses will work alongside the United Nations, key regional and international donors, experts from the education sector such as Abu Dhabi Education Council, and organisations such as Dubai Cares, Qatar Foundation International and Adyan Foundation.

Mr Brown said: “This is the biggest movement of people since the Second World War and children must be given hope for a brighter future.”

Abdulsalam Haykal, Founder and CEO of Haykal Media, said: “Millions of children have been forced to leave Syria and providing them with education is vital to their and their families’ future, and that of our country.

“It’s overdue to have a global owner of this cause – one that can bring together governments, the private sector, and the communities involved to send Syrian kids to school.

“The private sector’s ingenuity and innovation can be crucial in scaling the response to this unprecedented challenge.”

GBC-Education’s Director of Global Strategy Tom Fletcher, who is leading the initiative, said: “Wherever governments or individuals stand on the wider Syria debate, surely everyone can see the challenges we will all face if we fail to get Syrian children back to school.

“We have set ourselves an ambitious target, of children reached and funds raised. But we have a plan and we can and will deliver, if people get behind the effort.”

Members of the coalition called on the wider private sector to join the effort. Forthcoming international meetings in Davos, London and Istanbul in the first half of 2016 will be an opportunity to galvanise a wider coalition of supporters.

You can play your part – by signing the new campaign petition demanding that world leaders do something now to get one million Syrian children into school.

Sign the Hope for Syrian Children petition

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