December 03, 2015

Join the campaign to give hope to one million Syrian refugee children

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

Syrian refugee children attend tented class in refugee camp in Bekaa Valley Lebanon picture by Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images/

The world is focused on Syria. The conflict continues, the refugee crisis grows and millions of people demand action from their governments.

Almost overlooked in this whirlwind of events and emotions are the children whose families have fled their homes in search of safety.

For them, a long-term solution to the Syrian crisis - now in its fifth year - will be too late. They need to get back into school. Now.

Every week that Syrian refugee children are deprived of education puts their future in jeopardy. It denies them the opportunity to fulfil their potential. And it diminishes the chance of lasting peace - without education for the next generation the prospects for stability look bleak.

But there is hope. More importantly, there is a plan. A plan to get one million refugee children into school in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

That plan now needs global backing and urgent action.

You can play your part - by signing our new campaign petition demanding that world leaders do something now.

Sign the Hope for Syrian Children petition

Syrian refugee children at school in Saida Lebanon

Syrian refugee children at school in Saida, Lebanon

#UpForSchool activists have shown that all over the world, there are millions of people who understand that education doesn’t just matter when times are good - it is essential in providing hope for a better future when times are hard.

Now we are working together to encourage our leaders to put real resource into building Syria’s future - and get one million Syrian children refugees into school

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. Your signature will show them the strength of opinion on the importance of getting Syrian refugee children into school.

The campaign is also being backed by 30 leading companies, who will announce their involvement at the launch of the Global Business Coalition for Education in the UAE on December 6.

THE PROBLEM

The war in Syria has forced 4.2 million Syrians to flee to neighbouring countries in the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. The violence has put more than one million out of school in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

But only 1% of all humanitarian aid is invested in education and creating safe places for children to recover and rebuild their futures. An entire generation could be lost to child labour, child marriage, recruitment into fighting or other life-threatening activities.

Now winter has arrived and refugees in camps face months of misery in harsh conditions. Out-of-school children will not have warm classrooms and school food to help them through this.

Syrian refugee children at school in Saida Lebanon

Refugee children are happy to be back at school

THE PLAN

A detailed plan of action to get more than one million Syrian refugee children into school has been written after consultation with the governments of Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

The plan includes three detailed reports - one for each country - and warn that a lack of donor funding is leaving vulnerable children out of classrooms and at risk of child labour, early marriage, exploitation and extremism.

International donors have mobilised about $150 million to support education - but this is less than half of what is needed to cope with the scale of the challenge.

THE PLUSES

Awareness is increasing and support is growing. People are beginning to realise that education is a key factor in the Syrian refugee crisis.

Thousands of additional Syrian children have been helped into school in this academic year through the new innovative double-shift system in Lebanon with support from a range of governments from around the world.

The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF is making great strides in helping Syrian children - both inside and outside the country. In October, UNICEF and the European Union announced grants worth $69 million to scale up their joint response to provide education in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.

A World at School brought together more than 40 of the leading NGOs and campaign organisations to call for a new platform to fund and coordinate education in emergencies such as wars or natural disasters.

Syrian students at a refugee class in Killis, Turkey

At July’s Oslo Summit on education an agreement, backed by strong political will, was reached on the need to create such a platform to improve how aid is provided and to urgently address the gap in funding for education in emergencies.

The work to create a Global Humanitarian Platform to Fund and Coordinate Education in Emergencies is being shepherded by an informal Champions Group - including Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Julia Gillard, Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, and Tony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, as well as a number of key donors, affected governments and other stakeholders.

THE PETITION

We need the international community to keep working together to find the money and resources to support Syrian refugee children getting back into school, and fast.

Sign the petition to tell leaders to offer hope for one million Syrian refugee children that aren’t in school:

"To world leaders...

"Please do what’s needed to ensure that Syrian refugee children can go to school, fulfil their potential and build a peaceful future for themselves and their country. Give Syrian children hope."

Sign the Hope for Syrian Children petition

We are a children's charity committed to ending the global education crisis and unleashing the potential of the next generation.

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