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

Barriers to education, Celebrities, Children in conflicts, Education funding, Education in emergencies, Girls' education, Refugees and internally displaced people, Right to education, The Education Commission

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. SHAKIRA, in a video to promote the launch of the Education Commission report in September.

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. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, calling in November for a global “New Deal” for children.
Education cannot wait, because if girls don’t have access to education, really bad things happen to them. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, in May at an event hosted by the Global Business Coalition for Education at the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey.
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. Co-hosts’ declaration at end of Supporting Syria and the Region Conference in London in February.
Oh nations, where is my childhood and education? Syrian refugee Sheymaa, 12, in December on a video for Theirworld's #YouPromised campaign - which highlights the fact the $1.4 billion pledge quoted above has not been met and hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees are still out of school.
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. Prince Harry in March at the Nepal Girl Summit.
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? Kakar Hayat Hamandzai, one of our Global Youth Ambassadors from Pakistan, in a February blog for Theirworld.
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. Gilbert Ngaira, former street child and now Country Programmes Manager of Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Children, in a June guest blog for Theirworld.
When will the world's revulsion at such barbarity be matched by insistence that this must stop? UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in October, as he condemned an air strike that killed 22 children and six teachers at a Syrian school.
Help us make the whole world know that people who have been forced to flee for their lives are much, much, much #morethanarefugee. Mona Hassan, one of our Global Youth Ambassadors from Lebanon, in an October blog for Theirworld.
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. Shamila, 15, speaking in April - one year after her home in Nepal was destroyed by the massive earthquake.
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. Tom Fletcher, Global Strategy Director of the Global Business Coalition for Education, in an open letter to Syrian refugees in August.
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. US First Lady Michelle Obama in July, during her Karaoke Carpool episode with James Corden on his Late Late Show.
Nothing is impossible. They should work hard and complete their education to be able to go back to rebuild our country. Mohammed, 16, in August in a message to other Syrian refugees - he fled the conflict and became a star student in Lebanon.
Each day, the role of the teacher is reinforced and its importance confirmed as the world questions what future we want for our children. Hanan Al Hroub, former Palestinian refugee, in March after winning the Global Teacher Prize.
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. Erna Solberg, Norwegian Prime Minister and co-convener of the Education Commission, at the launch of the commission's report in September.
Kitu chochote wavulana wanaeza fanya, wasichana wanaeza fanya zaidi. (Anything boys can do, girls can do better). Student Diana, speaking in Kiswahili at the launch of the Theirworld Code Club for girls in Kenya in March.

More news

See all news