July 03, 2018

EU gives 100m euros to educate Syrian refugee children in Lebanon

The new aid package means more Syrian children could finally be going to school

Photo credit: Theirworld / Hussein Baydoun

The aid package comes three months after magician Dynamo appealed for urgent action to get children into school - but much more still needs to be done.

When magician Dynamo demanded urgent action to get hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees into school, he backed up his call with an emotive video.

Filmed in Lebanon, 72 Hours showed the plight of children who are still deprived an education despite world leaders pledging two years ago that they would all be in school by now.  The video - part of Theirworld's #YouPromised campaign - has been watched by more than six million people.

Three months on from Dynamo addressing world leaders at the Syria conference in Brussels - backed by 70,000 calls for action through our campaign - many of those children could finally be heading to a classroom.

The European Union has announced details of an aid package that includes 100 million euros (about $117 million) to guarantee access to schooling for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.

Dynamo meets Syrian refugee children in Lebanon

Photo credit: Theirworld

"The new projects will substantially boost social protection and access to education for both Syrian and Palestine refugees from Syria, as well as for local communities," said EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

"The EU is continuing to deliver on its pledge to help Lebanon and Jordan, which host the largest per capita refugee populations in the world."

The announcement follows on from the EU revealing last week that it aims to dramatically increase its long-term foreign aid budget by 30% to over $140 billion and make its systems more simple, flexible and effective.

The additional money for education in Lebanon will come from the EU Syria Trust Fund's biggest aid package of $195 million. 

The new projects will improve access to education for Syrian children living in Lebanon

Photo credit: UNICEF / Haldar

The fund has now financed projects totalling over $1.6 billion since its launch four years ago and is planning additional packages for Jordan and Iraq in the second half of 2018.

The EU says the fund has given 453,552 refugee and host community children and youth improved access to education, protection and psycho-social support. It has also supported the construction or renovation of 253 schools and education facilities. 

The fund is helping to deliver on EU pledges made at the original Supporting Syria conference in 2016 and two subsequent Brussels conferences in 2017 and April of this year.

While the EU is leading the way, the most recent Brussels summit raised only about half the money needed to get every refugee child in school - with 689,000 children in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan still not receiving an education.

​Watch Dynamo's film 72 Hours

Governments and other donors pledged a total of $4.4 billion in humanitarian for the region. Historically, around 10% of all funding has gone to education, so on similar trends Theirworld calculated that $440 million had been raised for education in 2018 by April.

At the Brussels conference, Dynamo said: "If you give a child an education - even simple reading and writing - it instantly gives them a belief in themselves that they didn’t have beforehand. It creates ambition.

"I think that we owe it to ourselves to be the ones that believe in the children enough to pledge them the money and put them into education."

  • With thanks to players of the People's Postcode Lottery, Theirworld will continue its projects and campaigning work to support Syrian refugee children into education.
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