World leaders who broke their promise to Syrian refugee children should watch this film

Education in emergencies

They promised – but so far they have FAILED to deliver. World leaders met in February and said they would provide the funds to send one million Syrian refugee children to school.

But, with just a few weeks until the new school year, only $400,000 of the pledged $1.4 billion has come in.

Today the children’s charity Theirworld has launched a video to remind countries of their broken promise – and to urge people to send out a message that this is unacceptable.

Watch the video in the player below

We asked for people to take action after a startling report by Theirworld – the charity behind A World at School – showed an urgent funding gap that will leave hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugee children out of school in neighbouring countries.


Those who miss out on education will be at risk of child labour, early marriage, exploitation and recruitment by extremist groups.

Campaigners are stepping up the pressure. In one week, more than 10,000 messages have been sent to Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and Kuwait. Together with the United Nations, they were co-hosts of the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London, where the pledges were made.

The global campaigning website Avaaz is also backing our campaign with a petition to urge leaders to pay their pledges to get every child in school.

Ben Hewitt, Theirworld’s Campaigns and Communications Director, said: “A promise has been made to the most vulnerable children and people around the world are demanding that the promise is kept.

“We have seen an overwhelming response to this campaign with over 10,000 messages sent to world leaders in the first week. The pressure is building – and the days to the new school term are ticking away.

“Now we need to see emergency action from the co-hosts of the conference, those who have made this promise.”

There are three steps that should be taken NOW to resolve the problem.


Priti Patel, the UK’s International Development Secretary, has just been to Lebanon, where she issued a press release calling for a fresh international push for education.

It said she had “welcomed progress already made but called on donors to maintain momentum… to provide an education for every child affected by the conflict”.

The UK and other co-hosts should convene an emergency meeting to agree a plan to deliver the commitment made in London before the start of the new school term.


A number of donors should commit to match the spending of the UK in Lebanon, which is £40 million a year for four years.

If the European Union, France, Germany, the United States, Japan and Canada did this, then we would have exactly what is needed to fund every Syrian child in Lebanon to go to school.

If they release the first-year funding now to UNICEF, that will also avoid 90,000 children being forced to drop out of school within weeks due to lack of funding.


The World Bank has committed to spend $100 million in Lebanon – they should give $40 million of that urgently in light of the education funding crisis.

The bank has also committed the funding needed for Turkey – an additional $400 million in the shape of low-interest, long-term loans. 

This would see Turkey getting World Bank funding alongside the recent commitment of $550 million from the EU.

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