Photo by Anthony Achkar.
Nearly 3 million children are fleeing their homes in Syria where a four-year conflict is about to bleed into its fifth year with no end in sight. Many of these refugee children have seen unthinkable violence and have endured unthinkable circumstances. Out of school, many work, in some cases, hours that are nearly double those of working professionals and pay as low as $1 a day. In Lebanon alone, there are more than 500,000 Syrian refugee children. Despite this staggering figure, less than half have been able to enroll in school where they are protected from violence and are empowered to pursue a meaningful and productive future. Not only this, but the longer this out-of-school population goes without an education, the more likely violent conflict will endure (or erupt) in the future.
Nevertheless, hope remains. Through an innovative double-shift school system, GBC-Education is working to facilitate public-private partnerships to back a plan with the potential to enroll 1 million children into school by the end of the next school year. Right now, 30 major companies including Crescent Petroleum, Haykal Group, ITWorx Education, Parthenon-EY, and GBC-Education member NRS International have united to support this campaign.
But, if this goal is to be realized, more support from the private sector is needed. During a high-level meeting held in Legatum Limited, located in the DIFC on December 6, representatives of the private sector joined UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, education experts, and others to outline actionable solutions to educate these 1 million children. A World at School is also pressuring the international community for support through the ‘Hope for Syrian Children’ petition which will be presented to world leaders, NGOs, and civil society at the Syria Donor Conference hosted by the UN among other donor countries in February.
Learn more about the role education plays in the refugee crisis here.