December 20, 2016

Best quotes of 2016 on the campaign to give every child an education and protect their rights

Syrian refugee children in a kindergarten class in Jnah public school in Beirut, Lebanon

Photo credit: Theirworld/Jessica Bryant

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

In a year of wars, despair and a massive refugee crisis, the need for children to be safe, in school and learning has never been greater. Here are some of 2016's most memorable quotes about the struggle to give every child an education and protect them from harm.

I believe education is the key to everything. As an activist and a child of the developing world, I have seen education’s power to transform lives.

Now it is time to put centre stage the civil rights struggle for children - for an end to the casual and routine violation of children’s rights; for the right of boys and girls not to be in the front line of war; for schools not be used as instruments of war; for children’s rights to education to be upheld at all times, irrespective of borders; and for us to end exploitation in child labour, child marriage and child trafficking in favour of education.

Girls need to be in school - apart from education this can prevent them falling into child marriage and exploitation

Photo credit: A World At School

On education, participants agreed today that there will be No Lost Generation of children as a result of the Syria crisis. They committed that by the end of the 2016/17 school year 1.7 million children – all refugee children and vulnerable children in host communities – will be in quality education with equal access for girls and boys. We also committed to increasing access to learning for the 2.1 million children out of school in Syria itself. Participants noted that funding of at least $1.4bn a year will need to be met from pledges to the UN appeal and additional bilateral and multilateral commitments.

Sheymaa reads a message for world leaders who promised to give all Syrian refugees an education

Girls who marry young stay at home. They don't finish school. And they soon become locked in a cycle of illiteracy, poverty, ill health and, ultimately, powerlessness. How can this cycle be broken? We all know what the answer is - education.

I face and see the violation of child rights every day. I have the right to ask when will we provide children with their rights?

Education was the key for helping me to overcome the horrors of child labour. And I know that by replicating my story with the millions of other children throughout Africa, we can not only secure their futures but that of our continent.

Child labour is rife across many parts of the world

When will the world's revulsion at such barbarity be matched by insistence that this must stop?

Help us make the whole world know that people who have been forced to flee for their lives are much, much, much #morethanarefugee.

Global Youth Ambassador Mona Hassan at Mtein School in Lebanon

Photo credit: Theirworld/Tabitha Ross

I want to tell everyone that we should go to school. If you don't go to school, tell your guardians to send you to school. Everyone must go to school.

In decades to come, you will have many questions to ask our generation about how we let this crisis happen on our watch. We owe it to you to do better from here on. I hope we can.

So much could be corrected in the world if girls were educated and had power over their lives. My message to kids here is don’t take your education for granted because there are girls around the world who would die to get the education that we have. They would move mountains to make it happen.

Michelle Obama and James Corden share a car trip round the White House on his American TV show

Nothing is impossible. They should work hard and complete their education to be able to go back to rebuild our country.

Each day, the role of the teacher is reinforced and its importance confirmed as the world questions what future we want for our children.

Evidence shows that when youth have equal access to education and employment opportunities the risk of engaging in extremist activities are lower. This is a time of opportunity but that time is running out.

Kitu chochote wavulana wanaeza fanya, wasichana wanaeza fanya zaidi. (Anything boys can do, girls can do better).

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