Tom Hiddleston: world leaders must act to help children in emergencies

Celebrities, Children in conflicts, Education funding, Education in emergencies

Tom Hiddleston and Justine Greening with students at Hampstead School in London Picture: UNICEF


Actor Tom Hiddleston has called on world leaders to invest in the future of children caught up in humanitarian emergencies.

The TV and film star, best known for his roles in Marvel superhero movies, told of the trauma he had witnessed during a trip to war-torn South Sudan.

Tom, who is a UNICEF UK ambassador, told students at a London school yesterday: “Nearly a quarter of the world’s school-aged children now live in countries affected by crisis. Every single one of these children should be at school and learning.

“Education is a vital source of safety and hope for children, allowing them to learn, play and escape the horrors of war and disasters.”

The star of Thor and The Avengers talked about the new education in emergencies fund that will be launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey in less than three weeks.

The Education Cannot Wait fund was announced yesterday, with the aim of raising almost $4 billion to reach 13.6 million children within five years and 75 million by 2030. Now world leaders have to back the commitment with actions and money at the Istanbul summit.

Tom said: “We must make sure that education in emergencies is prioritised – otherwise a generation of children living in conflict and natural disasters will grow up without the skills they need to contribute to their countries and economies, exacerbating the already desperate situation for millions of children and their families.

“We must invest in their futures now.”

The actor met Justine Greening, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, and pupils from Hampstead School, where they discussed Britain’s role in keeping children safe in humanitarian emergencies.

The students talked about the refugee crisis, protecting schools in war zones and ensuring children’s rights and voices are recognised regardless of their situation or background.

Tom told them said: “Children are facing more devastating wars and disasters than ever before. I have seen for myself in South Sudan that children are the hardest hit in emergencies.

“Children have been killed, orphaned, forced to become soldiers, kidnapped and traumatised.”

Ms Greening said: “When I speak to young people, I am struck by how passionate they are about international issues.

“I’ll be taking many of the views I have heard today to the World Humanitarian Summit later this month when I discuss with world leaders how the international community can better respond to crises around the globe.”

Help to keep up the pressure – tell world leaders they must act. Sign the #SafeSchools petition.

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